There are plenty of online scams and frauds out there, and scammers don’t look likely to cease their work anytime soon. It’s an unfortunate reality that being part of the online world comes with risks, including having your information infiltrated and stolen by online criminals.
All of us need to be wary online, but in particular, those who are keen gamers must keep their guard up. Online gamers provide a substantial amount of information to gaming platforms and fellow competitors, information that is quite valuable to hackers.
Your online gaming account is a treasure trove for cybercriminals, and as such, it’s important to know what to do in the case of an account hack and how to protect yourself in the future.
Been hacked? Here’s what you should do
If you believe your online gaming account has been hacked, there are certain steps that you should immediately take to minimise the damage:
Change your password:
The most basic (and necessary) move you can make is to change your password immediately. Log-out of any active sessions (which could indicate the online criminal has accessed your account) and be sure to choose a strong, unique password that cannot be easily guessed.
These days, almost all games offer two-factor authentication. Activating it means that in addition to providing a username and password, you (or anyone trying to access your account) will need a passcode that is typically sent via email or text message. Without access to your phone or email accounts, the online criminal will not be able to get through to your gaming account.
Report any unfamiliar activity on your account:
If you spot any unusual transactions or gaming activity on your account, immediately report the issue to the provider. Most major platforms have processes in place that enable them to investigate potential security breaches and secure affected accounts.
Now that the basic measures (changing passwords and turning on two-factor authentication) have been addressed, there are certain behaviours you should review to enhance security moving forward.
Check for connected devices and accounts. If you don’t recognise some of these connected sources, immediately disconnect from them. Check too for recent logins, which provide information such as the IP address, location, and time of login.
Scan your device:
There are a number of ways credentials can be leaked, including via viruses and malware that enable online criminals to track your keystrokes. The safe thing to do here is to install antivirus software that enables you to scan your own device for malicious threats and act accordingly.
Set up a recovery email:
Should you find yourself in the position of being locked out of your account, having recovery email set-up can save you a lot of time and stress.
Tips to protect yourself online
Even the most secure accounts can fall victim to a scam. However, by keeping cybersecurity at the forefront of your mind, you will develop the skills required to identify potential scams and make smart decisions regarding your cybersecurity.
Do not give share your credentials:
One of the great things about online gaming is how social it is. Playing mass multiplayer games is a great opportunity to catch up with friends and make new acquaintances. However, never trust anyone that asks for your login credentials. They may promise that they can upgrade your character or beat a particularly tough boss you’ve been stuck on. Or, they might take all of your personal information and disappear!
Never use the same password on multiple accounts:
Access to one set of credentials can trigger a domino event if you have used the same set of login details for other sites as well, including your email and social media accounts. If you believe that an online criminal has enough information to gain access to your online accounts, it is best to change all of your passwords. Try using a password manager if you struggle to keep track of your login information.
Use a VPN:
What is VPN? A VPN stands for ‘virtual private network’, a form of security software. A VPN works by encrypting and securing your connection, which can protect your data and also plays a role in reducing the likelihood of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack occurring.
Nothing is sure in life — except for death, taxes, and the likelihood that you will come across some form of online scam when gaming online. Protect yourself and play in peace by understanding the actions of online criminals and enacting positive behaviors to secure your account.
Bridget is a writer and editor, currently living in Melbourne. She is a copywriter for Newpath Web and loves working with words of all shapes and sizes. When not playing around with punctuation and grammar, she enjoys travelling and curating her Spotify playlists.