As a gamer, you might not know this, but you’re the prime target for hackers. Why, exactly? Well, you’re online a lot, you’re likely to have some money if you’re buying games pretty regularly, and you have a lot of passwords that you use to log into multiple different accounts. This wouldn’t be a problem if people used unique passwords for every account they own, but they don’t. And this invariably leads to data breaches, such as when thousands of Fortnite players had their accounts hacked and funds siphoned from their accounts like gasoline from a parked car with a sleeping driver behind the wheel.
Are we all this defenseless? Not necessarily – with a few basic precautions you can drastically decrease your likelihood of being hacked.
Ensure you have security software
While this should be a no-brainer, it’s surprising how many people don’t have online security software or antivirus protection. It’s vital for protecting your machine and accounts from numerous viruses, malware and spyware that could be used to extract your data without your knowledge. It also allows you to make online transactions safely without worrying about the vulnerability of your connection. Ideally, this security software should be used in conjunction with other security measures such as ensuring that SSL certificates are used on every site you visit, but even a basic package is better than nothing at all. Armed with this, your online gaming transactions should be without any worries.
Mix up those passwords
As was mentioned in the opening paragraph, many people fall prey to hackers through the simple failing of not creating a strong or unique password. The easiest way to get around this is to do just that: create a strong, complicated and unique password for every account you own. This applies whether it’s an email, Facebook, online banking platform or Steam account. But one tough password is impossible to remember, let alone dozens, how could you possibly remember all of them? The answer to this is equally simple: download a password manager such as Dashlane, LastPass, or KeePass. They let you manage all your passwords, remember your passwords for you, and also generate entirely new secure ones.
Limit the data you provide
This might be a lesser known fact among gamers, but there’s a ton of data that you provide to your PlayStation, Xbox and Steam accounts that you might not be aware of. For example, if you’re a Call of Duty player and a random person on the internet adds you as a friend, they might have access to your full real name depending on what settings you applied when you signed up.
In the interest of having the safest and best possible gaming experience, it’s important to familiarize yourself with privacy and security settings regardless of the platform you use to ensure that the information you want to remain private stays that way.
The PlayStation Network, for instance, allows you to decide whether you’d like the friends on your list to see your real name or not. Limiting your data will go leaps and bounds to protecting your identity and allowing hackers to access your private details.