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7 online gaming dangers that you should avoid to safeguard your privacy

Mobile is increasingly becoming an integral part of the gaming industry with dozens of PC and console game developing companies turning to grow their business in the smartphone gaming ecosystem. Playing games online provides quality social interaction as well as a healthy competition, but that’s not always the case, and like most of the things online, gaming has a dark side too.

It is vital to understand the risks related to online gaming to ensure that your privacy and security aren’t threatened at any point. Here is the list of top 7 dangers that online gamers face and should be avoided.

Cyberbullying

Bullies are everywhere — in real life as well as in cyber platforms — and since anonymity is one of the key facets of the internet, especially with gaming aliases, they give even more power to the bullies and make them even more apathetic to other people’s feelings.

Gaming is a competitive environment, and often players send derogatory, hurtful and harmful messages to others in-game as well as on global chat channels. The majority of games allows its players to block chat and messages from other users. In some cases, the words or actions delivered by a bully may be a violation of the game’s terms of service. Therefore it is always advised to write down or take a screenshot of any offensive conversation and immediately report it to game administrators.

Bullying isn’t ok, no matter where and under what conditions. Bullying is a strict no. If you’ve been bullied or have witnessed bullying in-game, always report it to the developers through official emails.

Also read: How I got my Steam account hacked and what I learnt from it

Privacy Problems

While aliases are a norm, it is to be noted that kids should not use their real names as the in-game username as this could threaten their privacy because several games also use user’s location. Cybercriminals can easily manipulate conversations. They may single out you and ask for your personal information via messages. You should make sure that you never give out any personal information and should also keep different passwords on every other online gaming site.

Personal Information Left on Consoles and PCs

After the PCs or gaming consoles have outlived their lives, then you usually tend to sell, recycle or exchange them, but people often forget to get rid of their private information from the PCs and consoles. If you’re planning to replace your current device, a factory reset is a must and if you have the time, formatting the device before factory resetting it is even better.

If you by chance use the SD card then make sure to try them in PC and securely erase all the data. You shouldn’t just rely on the delete option. You can use a program that removes the data by overwriting it multiple times. Your data is important and safeguarding it is primarily your responsibility.

Webcam Worries

Any connected devices such as webcam or audio can be controlled the attackers. To mitigate this risk, please ensure that you scan your system regularly for any malware. You should also ensure that your webcams are switched off by default.

As has been documented over the past few years, webcams and mics attached to consoles and PCs are one of the major entry points of hackers and anyone trying to surveil you. So, if you’re not using the webcam, it’s a good idea to cover it — Zuckerberg does it too.

Malware

What is code-signed Malware and ways to protect your device Malware operates on a delayed timer so the victims cant suspect. Even though apps may seem legitimate, you should always review them before downloading to ensure that the app is safe and doesn’t threaten the integrity of your system in any way. You should still download the app ideally from the official source or at least from reputable sources to ensure that it doesn’t carry any threats.

Online Predators

It is known that predators have a chance of building shared online experiences by becoming your teammate. Predators often lure gullible kids on online gaming platforms. Therefore, parents should make sure that they talk to their children regarding online risks, and they should also monitor who their kids talk to when playing games to ensure their safety.

Hidden Fees

Giving out your credit card information to freemium model games shouldn’t be a habit. While freemium games are on the rise and most of the reputed developers have started transitioning to this sale model, you shouldn’t trust every other developer out there and be wary of the shady and new ones. Even if you use traditional model games still keep on checking your credit card bills. If you use game apps, then it’s a good idea to disable the in-game purchases via your biometrics as there have been reports about apps scamming people by auto-charging their cards with microtransactions even when not in the game.

Also read: What is Formjacking, how it works and protective measures

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