Online gaming has been around for a long time, and it has revolutionized the way we have fun. It is a fantastic source of entertainment for people all over the globe. With this hobby, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
While gaming might be exciting, it can turn dire quickly: and not because you couldn’t defeat the boss at a dungeon. Just like anything that happens online, gaming comes with its fair share of dangers. The internet is full of hackers, malicious individuals, and scammers looking to exploit you or your data – and online gaming is no exception. In this article, we will explore some ways and means you can use to protect yourself from jealous opponents or cybercriminals.
The Dangers of Online Gaming
Online gaming can be quite a dangerous thing. Online servers, games, and mods are crawling with all types of nasty things that might end up tarnishing your privacy, or worse. Below, we’ll explore some of the ways that online gaming can be dangerous.
Hackers steal gamers’ accounts
It’s no surprise that online games are crawling with hackers. Not only are hackers exploiting game mechanics for an unfair advantage, but they could also be targeting you. If a hacker targets you, they will likely steal your data without you even having a clue.
An even worse scenario would be that the hacker is actively working in the shadows, looking to steal or ruin as much data as possible. Many people have a lot of sensitive data on their PC – and if a hacker gets access or steals it, this could be disastrous. For instance, it has been reported that stolen Fortnite accounts can make a tremendous profit for the thieves. As it appears, more and more accounts of this popular game end up being sold in underground forums. Usually, such account snatching happens via brute force and password cracking. So, while gamers might invest money in their in-game characters, their gameplay might be terminated due to simple or reused passwords.
Scammers & Catfishes
Aside from hackers, a much more present issue in online gaming is scammers and catfishes. When you play online games, you are a part of a community, but that community might not be filled with the best people. Scammers on online games might catfish you into believing they’re someone else. These malicious individuals could misuse your data to blackmail you or for other devious purposes. Stories of people getting catfished pop up regularly, and you should always consider that the player behind the screen might not be telling the truth. Pay attention to such details as their refusal to turn video chat or meet. It should be one of the first red flags.
Swatting & Doxxing
Swatting and doxxing are two very frightening but true occurrences in online gaming. Swatting is when someone makes a hoax call to emergency services that dispatch fully geared SWAT teams to the target’s home address. Most often, the calls state that the address has a kidnapped person on it. Swatting is not only extremely dangerous – it’s illegal. Therefore, culprits get in a world of trouble after being caught. Usually, the perpetrators are teens playing video games.
As long as you protect your address from malicious individuals, you should be fine. Doxxing, on the other hand, is an even more present thing than swatting. Doxxing is when someone discloses your full personal information, including your address, to the internet community. After that, many disturbing events might follow, including swatting.
With so many dangers lurking in the online gaming landscape, there are some protective measures you can use to ensure you’re safe while gaming. Below, we’ll explore two practical ways you can protect yourself.
Install a VPN to protect your connection
A VPN is perhaps one of the best safety measures you can put into play when gaming. Not only will a VPN encrypt all web traffic, making it virtually hacker-proof, but it will also scramble your IP address. So, if someone attempts to figure out your approximate location, they won’t be able to get your actual physical address. A VPN for gamers is a fantastic tool to use if you’re looking to ramp up your safety when online gaming. It comes with a lot of benefits, such as unlocking Netflix and torrenting, protection against malicious links, and 24/7 customer support if you experience any issues.
Responsible online gaming rules
If you want to make sure that you’re entirely safe, we’ve devised some rules you should follow.
- Never download games or mods from unreliable sources;
- Never click on any special links offered by third parties;
- Don’t trust sketchy looking emails;
- Never give your personal information on the internet;
- Make sure to mute someone if they’re acting aggressively or trying to provoke you;
- Report someone if they threaten you;
- Always make sure your webcam and microphone are turned off when you’re not using them.