Gaming Online Safely and Securely

Online gaming is a great way to have fun; however, it also comes with its own set of unique risks. What makes online gaming so fun is that you can play and communicate with others from anywhere in the world. While the vast majority of people online are out to have fun just like you, there are those who want to cause harm. Here are some steps you should take to stay secure:

Be cautious of any messages that ask you to take an action, such as clicking on a link or downloading a file. Just like email phishing attacks, bad guys will attempt to fool or trick you in online games into taking actions that can infect your computer or steal your identity.

If a message seems odd, urgent, or too good to be true, be suspicious that it may be an attack.

Many online games have their own financial markets where you can trade, barter, or even buy virtual goods. Just like in the real world, there are fraudsters who will attempt to trick you and steal your money or any virtual currency you have accumulated. Deal only with people that have established, trusted reputations.

Use a strong passphrase for any gaming accounts. If your game offers two-step verification, use it. In addition, make all of your online accounts have a different password. That way, if one game is compromised, your other accounts are safe. Can’t remember all your passwords? Consider a password manager.

Bad guys may attempt to hack into or take over the computer you are gaming on. You need to take steps to protect it:

Secure your computer by always running the latest version of the operating system and the gaming software. Old and outdated software have known vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit and use to hack into your computer.

Use anti-virus software. Ensure that it is updated and checking any files you run in real time.

Download gaming software from only trusted websites. Quite often, cyber attackers will create a fake or infected version of a game, then distribute it from their own server. Gaming add-on packs are frequently used to add new features. Attackers sometimes infect these gaming packs with malware.

In addition, if any add-on requires you to disable your anti-virus or make changes to your security settings, do not use it. Underground markets have sprung up to support cheating activity. Many cheating programs are themselves malware that will infect your computer. 

Never install or use any type of cheating software or websites. Always be just as careful playing games on your mobile devices as you would your computer. Cyber attackers are beginning to target mobile devices.

For Parents or Guardians

Children require extra protection and education when gaming online. Know what games they are playing and make sure the games are age appropriate for your child. Limit the amount of information your kids share online.; they should never share their password, age, phone number, or home address. One trick to get kids talking is to ask them to show you how their games work; have them walk you through their online world and show you what a typical game looks like.

A Public Service Announcement Courtesy of Cedar Valley Bank & Trust