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Cyber Threats You May Face When Gaming and How to Avoid Them

Cyber Threats You May Face When Gaming and How to Avoid Them

First-person shooter, RPG, or MMO? Desktop or mobile? Whatever game you choose, cyber threats could be only a link or download away.

In this article, we’ll look at the most dangerous cyber threats–the ones you don’t want to ignore. We’ll also show you practical ways to protect yourself against them. Without giving up on all that gameplay fun, of course!

Account and Password Theft

Gaming accounts with developed characters are valuable, and hackers sometimes try to exploit this through spyware. Keyloggers capture keyboard strokes to steal account names and passwords.

Some hackers go so far as to build whole online games or game sites to steal login credentials.

How can keyloggers make it to your computer? Hackers get creative with this. They may contact you in-game, praise you, and invite you to join their party or team.

They may then ask for you to download a specific team communication software or app or register on a website. But it’s all a ploy to get the keylogger on your device.

Some hackers go so far as to build whole online games or game sites to steal login credentials.

Always check the domain name you visit and keep an eye out for slight variations in it. Also, check whether your connection to the site is encrypted—the little padlock next to the address bar.

Don’t fill any forms on unencrypted websites, especially if you don’t have a VPN—more on that in a bit.

Malware in All Its Forms

Malware targeting gamers takes many forms. Some of it hides in fake game cracks that you may be tempted to download from the internet. These freebies promise to let you play popular games on the desktop without a license.

Even when the crack works, it can come bundled with malware that gains a foothold on your system. Common are coin miner malware that redirects system resources to hackers mining virtual currencies.

Other malware hides in fake apps available on mobile or desktop. Mobile platforms have tightened security measures after scareware like Fake Minecraft apps or Trojans masquerading as popular games got downloads galore.

But fake apps remain a constant threat in unauthorized app stores and on third-party app download sites. Even when all they do is show fake virus treats or obnoxious ads, you want to avoid them.

Ransomware

Even worse is ransomware, which can prevent you from accessing your system until you pay a ransom.

Using a VPN can help you avoid most threats by encrypting your data and masking your IP.

Many games today store game data in the cloud, making them less vulnerable. But games storing this data locally can still be vulnerable before new forms of ransomware. And it’s not just your computer that’s at risk, but mobile devices too.

Hackers can also use games to install ransomware that affects your entire device or computer. In a world where even big game developers like CD Project become ransomware targets, you just have to be careful.

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How to Stay Safe from Cyber Threats When Gaming

Start with basic security good practices like always updating your games to the latest version and using a complete antivirus. And be careful what addons or patches you use, as hackers often exploit vulnerabilities in these. But often, these measures are not enough.

A VPN may also help you access game servers otherwise not available in your region.

You want to add another layer of protection, especially if you enjoy online multiplayer games, which are common targets.

Using a VPN can help you avoid most threats by encrypting your data and masking your IP. Also, a leading solution like NordVPN can secure your internet connection if you’re using public Wi-Fi.

For example, even though NordVPN was hacked a few years ago, it’s now the leading VPN for gamers.

What’s more, a VPN may also help you access game servers otherwise not available in your region. But it’s important to choose a VPN made for gaming, or your latency when playing online games may suffer.

Last but not least, don’t click on suspicious in-game links and beware of offers that are too good to be true.

That way, you can focus on the pleasure of gaming without exposing yourself to risks. Game on!