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Mar
18
2014

How to Protect Your Gaming Privacy Online

How to Protect Your Gaming Privacy Online

With online gaming and always online connectivity becoming more and more popular, maintaining a secure computer has never been more important. Following just a few simple precautions will help to better defend your gaming accounts (and other important accounts).

Passwords

In recent years, more games and gaming services have required a username and password combination before accessing the content. Whether it’s Steam, Origin, Xbox Live, Playstation Network, MMORPGs, or any number of standalone games, the first piece of account security lies in the password.

Because cyberhacking extends far beyond just gaming, it’s important to ensure that you have a password that is difficult for hackers to decipher. Don’t use things like pet names, birthdates, or other easy to guess combinations. Try using a complex series of letters, numbers, and symbols to keep hackers guessing.

Another important tip is to use a different password for every account. Sure, this sounds tedious, but if someone hacks your Xbox Live account, you don’t want that individual to then have access to your World of Warcraft account, or even worse, your bank account. Keeping different passwords for different games and accounts can help to ensure that if any hacking incident occurs, it doesn’t spread like wildfire to all of your important accounts.

Authenticators

A new trend in online gaming is emerging in the form of authenticators. An authenticator is a device (or app) that generates a random, one-time password that must be entered at every login. A good example of this is Blizzard’s authenticator, which works with all of the company’s products connected to Battle.net. The Blizzard authenticator can be purchased for $6.50 from their online store, or downloaded for free for smartphones. Many companies are now offering similar products.

Authenticators add an extra level of security to your account, requiring hackers to have access to the unique code generated by the devices. Unfortunately, even this is not enough to completely deter hackers. In 2012, Blizzard admitted that hackers managed to bypass the authenticators and access accounts the products supposedly protected.

As a result, the reception of these products has been quite mixed. Some players feel much safer with them attached to their account, while others believe they are merely an added inconvenience to determined hackers. In my opinion, it never hurts to have an additional layer of security—especially if it can be obtained for free.

Additional Measures

There are a few other ways to ensure gaming privacy outside of the games themselves. For example, try to avoid browsing sketchy websites that aren’t secure. Websites like this are highly dangerous to your privacy and security, and are typically loaded with spyware and malware, such as keyloggers that can track your passwords.

Piggybacking off of the last point, never click on links in emails—seriously, never. Hackers are creative these days, and they’re capable of sending emails from addresses that look eerily similar to those of official websites. For example, a great deal of World of Warcraft players are hacked regularly as a result of fraudulent emails that appear to come directly from Blizzard. If you want to access your account, go directly to the website in your browser.

Additionally, many MMORPGs and other online games with in-game currencies have the problem of gold/money farmers, who earn in-game currency and sell it to players for real-world money. The best option is to avoid these sites entirely. Most times, the farmers will simply transfer the money directly to you in game, but there are some services that require giving them access to your account. I shouldn’t have to say this, but don’t do that. You’re just asking to have your account hacked, robbed, and banned.

Conclusion

Do you have any additional tips for defending your computer and maintaining privacy while gaming? What are your thoughts on authenticators; are they worth it, or simply an inconvenience? Let us know in the comments below!

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