Online gaming is on the increase, fuelled by the restrictive nature of our lives in 2020.
Where once people could meet and play their favourite games or sports, this year they have been forced to do so virtually. This is not necessarily traditional eSports such as League of Legends or Dota 2 either, but it has applied to a much wider demographic within the population.
Families have perhaps come together over Zoom to play online games, or amateur gamers may have found the only way to stay in touch with family and friends is with a bit of online bingo or poker.
Indeed, more people are turning to their computer or mobile device for their gaming needs than ever before. As the Gala Bingo guide to playing with friends virtually explains, groups of people are coming together who would perhaps not usually do so online. Newcomers to any industry mean, to a degree, a lack of online savvy and maybe certain risks. Online gaming has always provided certain risks for gamers, going back many years, but there are ways you can protect yourself, as we explore below.
Boost Network Security
Home networks became much more vulnerable with the introduction of Wi-Fi, but in the modern age, the risks can be even higher. With an Alexa or other home assistants linking to your accounts, your data is more at risk than ever. At home, this might not be as significant, but if you are playing games on the move, over public Wi-Fi, then you are at a huge risk. Try using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, to protect yourself and your data.
Use a Firewall
If you are gaming at home, then a firewall is a great additional deterrent to hackers and security risks. Even if your home network is protected, a firewall acts as a secondary barrier, and not only protects your computer and the like, but also items you may have connected to a home assistant, such as a smart thermostat or appliance, which may not have its own security measures. A firewall will help prevent people from maliciously attacking you whilst you are gaming online.
Weak passwords are a scammer’s dream, and implementing a robust password policy in which you change regularly and use many different ones is particularly important. If you do fall foul to a scam on one platform or game, having the same password across several sites means they too are all exposed. You can minimise the risk by having a password management program to help you ensure all your logins, for games, social media and apps, have different passwords and are thus protected to a greater level against malignant forces.
Not all threats from online gaming come in invisible form. Increasingly, scammers and hackers are turning to gaming as a route into people’s lives. One app, Words With Friends, is a method of playing Scrabble online, but it has been plagued by romance scammers, people who look to befriend the vulnerable and take money from them. Even playing games within social media apps such as Facebook can be risky with malignant files often seemingly from friends able to steal passwords and information. As a rule of thumb, be wary of opening any attachment that you are not expecting, and be vigilant when talking to someone you do not know.