For millions of Americans, kicking back and plugging into the Internet to engage in shooters, strategy games, puzzles or head-to-head fighters serves as a primary means of recreation. While most video game matches begin and end with only the controversy of calling one another noobs, more and more online gamers put themselves at risk for identity theft with unsafe practices. The US Computer Readiness Test notes the various risks of online gaming, including strangers who trick users into revealing information, digital predators and viruses that latch into your console or PC.
Think of all the people you know who play video games. Statistically, one in four of them play the mega-hit MOBA League of Legends. While this game is extremely popular and free to play, its security has been compromised in recent months. NBC reported the last breach resulted in millions of users’ names, email addresses and salted passwords becoming known to hackers. A salted password means the hacker can see the number of characters, if not the characters itself.
Users with easily guessable passwords, such as “password” or “leagueoflegends,” had no safeguards against these attacks. What ways of protecting yourself do you have when it comes to gaming identity theft?
Some games feature add-ons or digital tools users can plug into their interface for better customization. MMOs are some of the great markets for add-ons, as users can plug in everything from a map with tool tips, to a leveling guide to help them get to the maximum level. TopTenREVIEWS suggests any MMOer change their password immediately after installing an add-on such as a leveling guide, since many of the “max level” or “max gold” guides come from spoof sites designed to get your personal information. Use a password with numbers, characters and letters to be as safe as possible.
Game Socially, But Carefully
Social media circles exist for much more than pictures of cats, meals and marathon times. Forums and friend circles for online gaming such as Xbox Live or Steam allow people to keep in touch with digital contacts and plan the next big firefight.
Identity Theft 911 reports most gamer identity theft happens to kids and teens who do not understand the importance of concealing your online identity. Protect yourself on gaming networks by using an avatar picture (such as a favorite character) instead of a personal head shot. Do not use your real name as part of your username, or numbers for your age, birth year or the city you live in. An online profile should give away no more information than if your name simply came up as “anonymous.”
Quizzes and Marketing
A new trend in gaming marketing involves requiring the downloader to fill out a survey or quiz indicating their demographic information and gaming preferences. These surveys represent digital gold for gaming producers, but illicit surveys can use personal information to register credit cards in your name.
Along with the other ways of protecting yourself, never give out personal information, and get comprehensive security for your personal information. Investing in an identity theft protection service gives you proactive support against hackers and phishers, with round-the-clock support whenever emergencies strike.
After 15 years providing networking solutions in corporate America, Russell now runs an IT consulting business out of his home.