Safe Gaming - how gamers can protect themselves and their PCs while playing online

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6 October 2017

games and online safety

Give these tips a try, and you'll enjoy a safer and more enjoyable online gaming experience.

1. Secure your gaming and store accounts

If you’re using online stores and gaming networks that store your financial details and personal data, you’ll want to:

  • Secure your accounts with a strong password.
  • Enable two-factor authentication where possible.
  • Avoid using the same password you’ve used elsewhere.
  • Never share login details with others.

  • Remember to logout when finished.

If you really want peace of mind, you can use prepaid credit cards or vouchers when buying online instead of using your everyday credit or debit card details.

2. Keep your personal details private

Beware of oversharing or revealing too much when playing games online. Keep your personal details as private as possible when communicating with fellow players, especially those you don’t know well. This can help reduce the risk of abuse, harassment or stalking, and even identity theft and phishing attempts.

3. Don’t encourage trolls or bad behaviour

Don’t engage with anyone who harasses you or is being abusive — the more you react, the more likely it is that they will continue. Instead, report their behaviour to the game developer, the game’s support team or a moderator. If possible document any abuse so you can provide credible proof of the incident. That way proper action can be taken fast and without too much hassle.

4. Buy from trusted online stores

If you’re going to shop online, consider purchasing from well-established and trusted vendors — this will reduce the risk of falling prey to scammers or malware, spyware, viruses and ransomware threats.

There are various safe and trusted options for almost every device:

  • Android users should stick to Google play and avoid sideloading.
iPhone and iPad users should use the Apple App store. 

  • Windows and Mac users can use their own app stores as well as trusted online stores like Steam, Uplay, MacGameStore, GreenmanGaming, Origin, and Humble Bundle to name a few.
  • Console gamers can buy and download digital copies online via their console manufacturer’s online stores. 

If you’re ever in doubt about the credibility of an online store, do some research — look for online reviews or ask around in popular game forums for some advice before making a decision to buy.

5. Avoid dodgy downloads, mods or links

Don’t download software from strangers, especially cheat mods or automation scripts and programs, they could easily be carrying spyware or malware.

6. Avoid playing on public Wi-Fi

As tempting as it may be to use free Wi-Fi, try no to. You don’t know who the network belongs to — it might be a fake hotspot setup to intercept unwary users data. If you do want to run the risk of using free Wi-Fi, then take a look at some of our tips on how you can stay secure.

7. Keep your software up-to-date

Try and keep your device’s software up-to-date. This includes not only the operating system but ALL software installed, even games. Developers and hardware manufacturers regularly provide software updates to fix vulnerabilities which could otherwise be used by attackers to infiltrate your system to steal data or wreak havoc.

If you’re playing on a PC, Mac or mobile device you should consider installing an antivirus and internet security solution to keep you safe online:

  • PC users can install ESET NOD32 Antivirus or ESET Internet Security, which has a small system footprint and a Gamer Mode which reduces system usage even more, so it won’t slow down your PC while you’re playing games.
  • Mac users can download ESET Cyber Security Pro. The truth is that no operating system is 100% secure. Even if it was, vulnerabilities exist in third party applications, like games, that can be exploited by malware and cause damage.
  • Android users you can download ESET Mobile Security via the Google Play Store.

Enjoy your gaming =)