Many people from all backgrounds and age-groups enjoy online gaming. Being able to connect with friends during games, unlock new achievements and keep busy, gaming is a popular hobby for many. However, high numbers of online gamers makes the platform appealing to cyber criminals, as we know that they often look to attack anything that is popular. Keeping safe from cyber attack is important on any device, with gaming consoles and platforms no exception.
When setting up an account for online gaming, be sure to use a username which does not give away any personal details about yourself. As you may encounter people who you do not know in real life, it is important to use usernames which do not reveal sensitive details. Along the same vein, ensure you do not share any personal information with other gamers or on your gaming profiles, as these could be used to help initiate an attack.
As always, create strong passwords for every account. These should all be different and hard to guess- you could use a password manager or write them down to keep track of your unique and effective passwords. A good password will make it harder for hackers to access your accounts and details. To make accounts even more secure, take advantage of multi-factor authentication where possible. This will add another element to the log-in process, for example asking for a verification code which would be sent to your phone. Sometimes, these authentications will only come into play when logged in on an unknown device, so if the person trying to gain access is a criminal, they will not be able to get any further without the second form of authorisation.
Be aware of game-themed phishing scams. Scams will use social engineering, perhaps sending a message speaking of a new game. The excitement and urgency created by the text is designed to make the target click on the link, but of course, this would be used to gain access, information or money in some way. Remember to stay wary of unexpected communications, links, or messages which seem to be aiming to elicit an emotionally clouded response.
If a gaming account is being set up for children, it is a good idea to take a look at the privacy settings on the game or device, and amend them where appropriate. Privacy options will differ, though some games will allow you to turn off communications features and report inappropriate behaviour from other players. Adults may want to play games which their children are interested in, to get an idea of any security or privacy issues and how to manage them.
Treating online gaming as you would any other online platform is an effective way of promoting good cyber safety. Keeping strong passwords, staying vigilant towards scams and monitoring your young children are all good practices to avoid cyber criminals gaining access to your data and causing harm.