New to Online Gaming? Steps to be Safe, not Sorry

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The online gaming world is an exciting place for new gamers as it lets them explore the opportunities outside the single-player range. They can showcase their gaming skills, collaborate with friends, and learn from experts. It’s a great way to spend your time while socializing with like-minded gamers and developing teamwork skills. But you won’t always enjoy harmony. Gaming is full of devious people, especially after gaming became a massive industry. Dedicated gamers even spend millions on their characters. Hence, they become profitable targets for hackers. While you might not be spending thousands on new in-game outfits and boosts, you are exposed to other risks.

Online Gaming Risks

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Even though online gaming benefits easily outweigh the risks, you still need to learn how to stay safe. It’s important that nothing impacts your well-being and that you’re always at your best while playing your favorite online games.

Games lend us a sense of escape from the physical world’s crude realities and let us experience being part of a community. However, without appropriate information on the types of games to play and the sites to play on, we might easily fall prey to scammers, fraudsters, and hackers. In this article, we shall look at some of the risks of online gaming and how you can avoid them to stay safe.

From a non-gamer perspective, losing virtual items is not a big deal. However, as we mentioned, some players invest both their financial assets and time into their characters. At one point or another, they might receive extremely rare items that others look at with envy. So, if credentials to such nurtured accounts get leaked, they will very likely end up being sold in underground markets.

Another risk is that people might store some private information in their accounts. For instance, some games might offer players to link their social media accounts. This threat is not related to hackers but general privacy issues. What do we mean? Well, some game owners might monetize users’ data, especially if you are into mobile gaming. Your data and reactions to various advertisements are used to improve personalized ads that you see. So, before downloading a mobile game to pass some tedious hours, take a quick look at the game’s privacy policy. Do the owners mention that they share or sell data with third parties? This statement should be one of the warning signs for you.

Catfishing

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You must have heard stories of online gamers falling in love with each other while discussing gaming strategies. However, the reality might be completely different. A catfish is an individual who uses a false name and personal details to trick strangers over the internet. While many players admit having catfished people while playing, it does not make it acceptable. Pretending to be a girl gamer might work to get some free gear or other perks, but the situation can become direr. Some do not want gear: they want personal information.

There is no point in getting unnecessarily worried if you’ve been interacting online with others. However, you must remember that there’re people on the prowl waiting to take advantage of your mistakes. From sharing personal information to financial data, you might unwittingly share information, which can be used against you. Thus, if you avoid sharing personal details with other players, you are good to go.

Hackers exploiting security vulnerabilities

Online gaming means that your computer is connected over a network for long hours, which exposes systems’ vulnerabilities to hackers. There’re people on the lookout of systems with vulnerabilities so that they can get a backdoor entry and steal vital information from your computer, which includes financial information.

Risks from Predators

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Some people are waiting to lunge onto unsuspecting strangers, all the while posing as real gamers. These people stalk new gamers who are still exploring the platform and trying to understand the workings. Before you can even understand, these predators can start stalking you in real-life and harm you at the first opportunity. You need to stay safe and not share personal information with these people.

Often, we hear horror stories of how viruses and malware attacks cripple the lives of gamers. According to the Akamai report, the gaming industry is a weak link that hackers tend to exploit. However, the dangers do not arise due to gamers’ mistakes: creators are at fault as well. Developers are often rushed to meet strict release deadlines. Hence, they might leave cracks in the systems open for crooks.

Steps to Avoid Online Gaming Risks

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  • Installing a reliable anti-virus and anti-malware application. You can protect your system against harmful viruses and malware attacks by installing an updated anti-virus application. Update the antivirus frequently so that your system is protected from the latest threats. Do not open unwanted messages in your gaming account as it can lead to the installation of malware, worms, and viruses.
  • Maintaining an updated OS. If you’re accessing a gaming portal from your PC or gaming laptop, it’s imperative to update the OS. Select the automatic update option so that your PC or laptop’s OS is updated whenever it’s available. Updated systems possess a better protection mechanism.
  • Install a VPN. By installing Atlas VPN, you can protect all the data exchanges that take place over a network. Even if a hacker or scammer is waiting for you to make a mistake, they won’t be able to achieve anything because all your data gets encrypted before being transmitted over a network. A VPN offers end-to-end encryption, which implies that only the destination system will be able to decipher the encoded data. Thus, even if someone hacks into the network, they won’t be able to access the data in its original form.
  • Not sharing personal information with strangers. Until and unless you’re sure that you’re communicating with a real person, refrain from divulging any critical information. Do not share your real identity or any other information, including your picture. You can switch to the protected mode as far as your profile is concerned so that no new connection can access your details.
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