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The number of online gamers leaving their personal data online is growing, so it’s now extremely important to be aware of safety and security in the gaming landscape. After all, gamers and gaming companies are now being targeted by cyber crimes.
This is because the gaming industry — with its active social community and the high likelihood of gamers having digital money to spend on their games — means there’s a lot of data that hackers can grab, making the industry appealing to cybercriminals. Gamers are mostly being targeted through credential stuffing and phishing, while the companies and websites deal with SQL injection and DDoS.
The good news is that there are many ways to keep these hackers at bay:
Strictly observe password hygiene
Understanding and observing password hygiene are fundamental to maintaining cyber security as it’s arguably the single most important security measure for anyone online.
This involves having a strong password for your gaming accounts, frequently changing those passwords, and making sure that they’re safe from prying eyes. Security systems supplier Verkada found this out the hard way when a group of white hat hackers exposed a simple weakness in their system.
The hackers gained access to the system after they found one of the company’s administrator account credentials publicly posted online — allowing them to see behind the company’s many deployed security cameras.
Hackers will stop at nothing to find weaknesses in your defenses to steal your data. However, if you frequently change passwords and know how to keep them strong and hidden, you can stay one step ahead of even the most sophisticated hackers.
Register for an IRS IP PIN
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is one of the government agencies which have been heavily affected by data theft in online gaming and beyond.
As a result of the spike in data theft-related tax return fraud, the IRS now issues an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN).
This six-digit number is shared only between the owner of the number and the IRS. And once it’s issued, you need to give your IP PIN to the IRS before they process any tax returns.
This means that even if hackers manage to breach your online MMORPG avatar or your casino gaming accounts, the financial data that they steal from you will be useless for any IRS interactions.
If you’ve won prize money, knowing if it would be taxed, and how, will help you spot tax returns fraud if you have yet to claim your IRS IP PIN. This PIN becomes even more important for those who make a living off gaming and playing on MOBA.
For example, professional poker players compete with at least 25 to 30 buy-ins and more than three months of living expenses in the bank for every game they play. Their games can be expensive, even if they’re playing low-stakes, so having strong cybersecurity measures is essential.
Having an IRS IP PIN ensures that their taxable winnings are left untouched by hackers.
Install anti-virus software
Viruses are essentially programs that hackers try to sneak into your system to gain access to your data. Web-based gamers are particularly vulnerable to these hacking attempts.
From online poker players to those who play MMORPGs, players often need to install a variety of software to progress in-game. This can involve mobile apps, browser downloads, updates, and much more.
Any of these elements can be loaded with viruses and other backdoor-access tools planted by hackers.
Apart from only downloading from legitimate sources, the best way players can protect themselves from this threat is by installing anti-virus software, such as Avast, Webroot, and Bitdefender.
While many of these providers offer their products at a price, they can be a great investment if you want to keep your online playing experience safe and enjoyable.
Use VPN Services
Always be on the lookout for red flags
Given the current state of the digital gaming landscape, online safety and security are everyone’s responsibility.
As well as the aforementioned tips, you should always be on the lookout for email phishing attempts, dubious URLs, and other red flags.
These are just some of the most common ways with which hackers attempt to steal sensitive data from online gamers. Whether you’re playing online for fun, real money, or just to pass the time, stay abreast of the latest IT security news.
Keep these tips in mind and you may just be able to stay ahead of even the most insidious hackers.