Gaming is not immune to malware, phishing, scams, viruses, trolling, or abuse. Whether you’re new to playing games, a casual gamer or a hard-core veteran, there are always new threats emerging from the murky depths of the digital world that can lay waste to your gaming fun.
These 6 easy tips will give you a head-start to having a safer and more secure gaming experience.
- Buy from reputable and trusted stores to avoid malware
If you’re looking at purchasing anything online, you should try and purchase from reputable, trusted and well established stores. This will greatly reduce the risk of malware, virus and ransomware infections.If you’re using Android devices you should stick to Google play and avoid sideloading. For iOS devices, use the App store. PC and Mac users can use these trusted online stores or platforms: Steam, Uplay, MacGameStore, GreenmanGaming, Origin just to name a few. Console gamers can of course buy new or used games from bricks and mortar stores, and digital copies can be bought via their respective online store – Xbox has the Xbox marketplace and the Playstation offers games via the Playstation Network. When in doubt about the credibility of online stores, do some research – look for online reviews or ask around in forums before making a decision to buy.
- Secure your all your accounts
If you’re using online stores, gaming networks or app stores that contain your personal and financial details, you’ll want to do the following:
- Keep your login details private and secured with a strong password.
- Always require a password to login to an account, and remember to logout when you’re finished.
- Disable in-game or in-app purchases, or require a password to enable purchases.
- For an added layer of security, you can use prepaid cards or vouchers instead of providing your credit or debit card details.
- If in doubt about the security of your data being stored by an online service provider, then remove it.
- Be careful using emulators
A game emulator is a software program that emulates a video game or game system. Some of the software used to load games can contain malicious code. Try to avoid using emulators if possible unless you know what you’re doing and are aware of the risks.
If you desperately want to play a retro game, then you can always visit the Internet Archive which offers a free web based library of video games that were made in the 70’s through to the 90’s – https://archive.org/details/internetarcade.
- Don’t feed the trolls
If you encounter abuse or harassment while playing network games or Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMO/MMOG), don’t react or engage with the abuser. Instead, ignore and support anyone who is being abused and use the game or gaming network’s report function to report abuse to the developer, support team or moderator. If possible document any incidents so you can provide credible proof.
- Keep your personal details private
Beware of revealing too much. When playing games online with others, try and keep your personal details as private as possible. Other players don’t need to know your address, telephone number, email, age, gender etc. – this will help avoid abuse or harassment in the real world and also reduce the risk of identity theft.
- Install an antivirus solution and keep software up-to-date
You should always try and keep all your devices up-to-date. Not just the operating system but all your software too, including games. Developers or manufacturers regularly find vulnerabilities which they patch with software updates. If you’re playing on a PC, Mac or mobile you should consider installing an effective antivirus solution just in case. PC users you can install AVG AntiVirus Free to help protect against any nasties that might want to infect your system, it also has a handy game mode that won’t slow down your PC while you’re playing games. Mac users can download AVG AntiVirus for Mac for free, and if you’re an Android user you can download AVG AntiVirus for Android via the Google Play Store.
July 31, 2015