If the year that shall not be named taught us anything, it is that everyone needs to have an online game to play. But, when starting our journey of finding our perfect game, we need to think about security and privacy. And, gaming cybersecurity can be as diverse as genres and platforms.
Thankfully, there are only a few malicious actors on this part of the internet and most issues come from badly maintained servers. But, there are also places that you simply don’t want your personal information to be.
Generally, games can be separated into three categories of cybersecurity risks:
- Offline, PC, and gambling games – low risk
- Console, indie, and social games – medium risk
- Flash gaming and indie servers – high risk
But, what is important to remember is that the nature of these risks doesn’t mean that the developers or operators are out to get you. In most cases, the sheer social nature of these games and the number of players makes it dangerous for personal information.
Not to mention that some games are really beyond the scope of any kind of policing and oversight and that, unless you can have a mod present to block them there isn’t a chance to do anything.
Not all Platforms are Created Equal
The three current platform categories, namely personal computers, consoles, and mobile devices all have their particular issues when it comes to cybersecurity. Sometimes this is something native to the platform, and other times it is mostly about how we treat these devices.
Although PCs are the juiciest prizes for hackers and data thieves, most people know that they should be protected. Having a mixture of anti-virus, anti-spyware, and VPN software is necessary. This also makes it hard to crack.
Mobiles are the most dangerous as they usually have as much of our personal data on them as PCs, if not more. Still, we rely on the manufacturer and the app market to police our security, which is not a good way to go.
But, using the char and getting emails is where you can be a victim of social hacks. Most MMORPGs have professional digital phishing accounts that will gull you into giving your info to them or even money directly.
If you achieve personal contact, make sure to use protection and not give anyone your name, address, phone number, or any other type of info. Also, use a VPN and keep your anti-virus on at all times.
Console games are in much more danger from flaming and abuse than from hacking. As there is no personal information stored on the console itself, there is no risk.
But, there have been leaks from both Sony and Microsoft when it comes to user accounts. Ideally, you will want to use a disposable debit card to apply for these accounts.
Mobile gaming can seem the most dangerous, but that is mostly because of the numbers game. Most people are on mobile and that means that hackers and data thieves are focusing on them and trying to catch unsuspecting players.
Ironically, gambling games are one of the most secure in this niche because they are so regulated. Modern gambling games are anything but raw gambling and are used for entertainment by many mobile users.
This is because the cost of gambling compared to mobile games microtransactions are quite comparable.
To protect yourself you will need to use a set of tools for each type of device. But, your main toll will still be your vigilance and your mind.
Will the partner of your dreams approach you because they like the polygons on your character in an MMORPG? No, sadly they won’t.
Will your recluse billionaire African uncle contact you over a mobile game to leave you his fortune? Probably not.
Using common sense and digital hygiene is still the best way to protect yourself from any type of attack. And, if you combine this with some good software on all devices you will be protected no matter what you do.
The risk should never prevent you from participating. But, remember that the people on the other side are still people, some are good, some are bad, and some are simply in it for the money.
We all need to stay vigilant.