In a world increasingly connected to technology, most people are able to find ample entertainment, occupational and informational opportunities online. Particularly with regard to online interaction with others, a variety of concerns must be evaluated. Namely: it is vital to ensure one’s security and privacy in a world that is more open than ever.
The digital entertainment arena may not be a place where many worry about how their personal and financial information is being used, but it is nevertheless a cause for concern. Whether it be through voluntary disclosure of information that could prove damaging in the wrong hands or breaches of data that reveal details otherwise kept private, safeguarding oneself against these worries should be a top concern it might help to have some safe gaming tips.
A variety of problematic events and behaviours in the world of gaming have emerged in recent years, illustrating the importance of this dynamic. To keep yourself safe while gaming online, here are some important tips that should be followed regardless of your online routine.
Pick a secure username and password
There are many defensible measures online gamers can take to ensure optimal safety in virtual gaming sessions, but the first and most important broadly-speaking is a secure account. Millions of user accounts for popular online games are compromised every single year, with the biggest reason being a motivation to access in-game assets and/or real-life financial information.
Additionally, a compromised account for any online game could potentially reveal clues about your usernames and passwords elsewhere – making it easy for would-be thieves to do much more damage.
To avoid this fate, be sure to pick a unique username and password not resembling the information associated with other online accounts. Likewise, embracing a complex set of upper and lower-case characters (along with numbers and symbols) to use in your gaming passwords will make it far less likely that an unrelated data breach or simple brute force behaviour ends up with your account being compromised.
Carefully read online reviews
There are many different types of games for players of all backgrounds. From simple web-based interfaces to highly complex MMORPGs, everybody can find a flavour of gaming suited to their needs. However, some games are less secure than others – whether it be how basic user information is handled, what potential programs are indirectly installed on your computer, or the trustworthiness of processing payment information.
This is why reading multiple reviews for a given game before committing to it is highly recommended. Whether it is a game that results in malware being installed or a fly-by-night developer that can’t be trusted with real-life financial transactions, researching carefully beforehand can minimise the risks.
Take online gambling as one example. Not all gambling platforms online are equally credible. Review sites can evaluate the major gambling websites available to UK residents, providing independent reviews. Not all of them treat the financial information of players seriously, which is one of many criteria evaluated in reviews.
As such, it is vital that players research the reputations, procedures, and history of each online gaming sites to verify that they can be trusted with their payment information – click here to learn more about trustworthy sites.
Use two-factor authentication
Even if you choose a secure username and password, this isn’t always a guarantee of your online gaming safety. To maximise the chances of being secure, it is increasingly recommended that two-factor authentication be enabled on all of your accounts.
For those who don’t know, 2FA is a process that requires users to provide two separate pieces of information across two accounts (or devices) in order to access an account. Many games are unveiling authentication apps that send a code to your phone or tablet any time you attempt to log in: this code is provided alongside your username and password.
By requiring access to multiple devices and/or accounts, the likelihood of your online gaming security being compromised is substantially reduced.
Don’t reveal personal info in-game
Online gaming is increasingly becoming more personalised – and more personal. With large guilds, groups, and corporations in many games building complex infrastructure both in-game and elsewhere, a tight-knit sense of community has emerged in many player environments. However, it is difficult to know who to trust in an online setting – and what information they can be trusted with safely.
As such, never let your guard down with regard to sharing personal information. Some common tips include never revealing your full name via comms or in chat to large numbers of people, obscuring your exact location (city/town, or even county or region), keeping out-of-game online details private (such as email addresses and social media profiles), and never assuming that somebody you might trust now can be trusted forever.
It is incredible how easy identity theft can occur with just a couple of pieces of information as a starting point for thieves.
Always verify legitimacy of downloads and add-ons
An increasing number of games are best played with a variety of add-ons and independent downloads. These features may help improve the game’s UI or functionality – some games are notoriously “unplayable” in their respective vanilla versions, with the player base widely embracing add-ons to ensure a level playing field in the gaming experience.
However, trusting any add-on or download listed on websites dedicated to providing these options is a huge risk. Given that many add-on websites allow any user to upload options for the player base to consider, you could be downloading an add-on that includes malware or a backdoor entry onto your computer. Always verify the legitimacy of add-ons and downloads before embracing them.
Being safe while playing games online isn’t just about virtual concerns: it’s also very much about your overall health. Increasingly, health problems due to gaming have emerged in the esports and amateur gaming communities. Extensive periods of gaming without periodic breaks have been shown to increase anxiety, sleeping disorders, obesity, and other health issues, according to the World Health Organisation.
A minimum of 5 minutes of break time away from the computer or console every hour is recommended (though breaks of 10-15 minutes are ideal). By getting up, moving about, and clearing your head, you’ll stay in better physical and mental health while still enjoying your favourite forms of entertainment.
Being safe while gaming online isn’t difficult: it just requires a few simple considerations. While it can be easy to ignore these safe gaming tips in the belief that your safety will never be at risk, waiting to take such concerns seriously until after your safety has been compromised is too late. Please incorporate these tips into your online gaming experience and be safe!