Online gaming initially launched in a basic form in the 1970s and began to become more popular in the 1990s. In the past decade or so, it has gone from a niche market to one of the most popular activities in the world. In 2019, global revenue from online gaming reached $152 billion and is forecast to hit $196 billion by 2022.
With so many people indulging in online gaming, it is more important than ever before to be aware of how to stay safe when playing online. A bigger market attracts more hackers and other cybercriminals, so players should take a little time to familiarise themselves with basic safety advice before entering any payment details online or sharing any personal information.
Even when playing without paying, such as on free online slot machines games, players should be aware of what information they are sharing with the website and with any other connected players.
Keep Personal Information Private
One of the drivers behind the explosion in popularity in online gaming is the increased social aspect. There are many games today that connect people from all over the world, and lots of players enjoy meeting up with friends online almost as much as they enjoy playing the games themselves. The dangers of talking to people online whom you have never met in person are ever-present, so players should be wary of sharing too much personal information.
Just as in chat rooms, online games provide opportunities for criminals to pose as someone they are not to wheedle information out of other users. Players should choose a username that does not give anything personal away and not enter any private information into a personal profile.
Use Strong, Unique Passwords
Using a strong and unique password for every website visited online is useful safety advice for all internet users. This also applies to gamers, who should not use the same password for every gaming website they use. A strong password contains a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Players should not use personal information like passwords, such as the names of pets or birth dates. Aside from website accounts, you should also use a strong password when setting up a gaming server. You don’t want other people to hack into your server and change your settings. Now, if you don’t know anything about gaming servers yet, this company reviews a lot of them, giving you an idea of the best ones for the type of game you play.
Update Software Regularly
Many online games such as casino games and puzzle games allow players access via a browser without having to download software. This minimizes the risk of accidentally downloading any malware or viruses. Where the software does need to be downloaded, checks should be made to ensure the site can be trusted before beginning the download.
Any device that is used for downloading regularly should also be equipped with anti-virus and anti-malware software to check for suspicious content in real-time, or at least periodically. Downloads should only come from reputable sources and only authorized and licensed versions of any game should be downloaded.
Look for Payment Security Verifications
Any website asking users for money should have all relevant security tools and programs in place to protect the financial details of every customer. SSL protocol securely encrypts all information and protects card details and all other sensitive information. Users should look for the “lock” symbol in the URL bar and website addresses beginning with “HTTPS” to ensure SSL protocol is in place.
Most online gaming websites will allow a variety of payment methods to help each customer feel secure about making any form of payment. Payments made through secure third-party providers are likely to be more secure than those that require direct input of card details.
Implement Parental Controls for Children
Children have always enjoyed playing games and in the digital age are just as likely as adults to want to play some of those games online. Parents can help to protect their children from online fraud and other risks by implementing parental controls to restrict which websites they can visit and help establish cyber safety.
There are also tools that can restrict downloads for children, which can help minimize the risk of a child accidentally downloading suspicious software by accident. Children are less likely than adults to spot when a download is potentially suspicious, so limiting downloads can help ensure malware and viruses are not imported through otherwise genuine-seeming apps.
Keep Downloading Careful and To a Minimum
While children may be more susceptible to downloading malware, cybercriminals are sly and often able to generate programs that seem genuine even to the most careful user. Keeping downloads to a minimum and playing via a browser where possible can lower the risk.
Delete Before Disposal
When disposing of a PC, games console, or mobile device that has reached the end of its useful life, all personal data should be removed permanently from the machine or device. There are different methods for doing this depending on the device, so reading manufacturer instructions carefully can help ensure sensitive information is not being passed on to the next user or left in a place where someone could steal it. Most games can be backed up or transferred to new devices prior to disposal of the old device.
Technologies change all the time and there will always be a slight risk whenever playing games online. However, by following the above guidelines and researching carefully before trusting a company, the vast majority of players will be able to engage online without experiencing the harmful effects of cybercrime.
Morn on this topic: