Exploiting popular games such as Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite, and Apex Legends, cybercriminals launched over 7 million attacks against young gamers. Whether your concerns harbor around hacking, financial fraud, mental health issues, or the perpetually looming threats of online predators and cyberbullies, comprehending the risks confronted by your kids during online gaming proves worthwhile.
In this guide, we will lead you through the primary online gaming security risks, while furnishing you with cybersecurity tips to ensure the safety of your children.
Biggest Online Gaming Risks
1 Phishing Attacks
Gaming enthusiasts need to be vigilant and exercise caution to thwart phishing attacks that target their personal information or login credentials. It is important to stay away from clicking on unfamiliar links and verify the authority of the source before sharing any sensitive information. Stay proactive in protecting your gaming account by being cautious of suspicious emails or messages requesting your gaming account details.
Cyberbullying is the act of harassing someone through digital media such as text messages, social media, and online gaming platforms. Bullies create fake profiles to intimidate and disrupt the game experience for their victims. In multiplayer games, individuals known as “griefers” deceive others into giving up their gaming possessions.
According to recent statistics, nearly 41% of gamers experience offline bullying, while 25.9% fall victim to cyberbullying. To protect your child from such incidents, it is important to stay vigilant. Additionally, provide reassurance to your child by creating a safe space for open discussion without judgment, and offering unconditional support. Taking action to block the bullies is also essential. Review the privacy settings and connections on all your child’s online accounts to prevent further contact with these individuals.
Children often lack knowledge of online safety, frequently using weak passwords or sharing them with friends. If malicious individuals obtain your child’s login credentials, they can seize control of the account. These hackers can make fraudulent in-game purchases, disclose embarrassing photos, or send inappropriate or scam messages from your child’s account.
Secure passwords stored in a password manager are crucial. Using a VPN for gaming also helps. If a child uses a gaming VPN, they will not be able to be identified or their data stolen. An additional argument in favor of VPN is the free trial version. Also enable multi-factor authentication (MFA), an additional security step during login, such as text message verification or biometric confirmation.
4 Financial Information Theft
Gaming on the internet poses multiple risks, one of which is the online purchase of games that expose your financial information. Attackers attempt to steal this valuable data for their benefit.
As online games continue to evolve, the prevalence of online purchases has surged. Game sequels and add-ons often necessitate online payment to progress in your gaming experience. Sadly, many gamers overlook the associated dangers of providing their credit card information online.
Hackers can employ counterfeit websites or game downloads to infect your child’s computer with malware, ransomware, or spyware. Once hacked, scammers may monitor your children’s online activities, spy on them, or potentially extort them.
Teach kids about phishing scams. Encourage your children to read blogs and watch videos on how scams operate so they can recognize the warning signs of phishing and avoid opening links or attachments.
6 Data Breaches
Games publishers can fall victim to direct attacks by hackers. Once unauthorized access is obtained to a publisher’s systems, a multitude of valuable data can be stolen. This includes not only source code and the games themselves but also personal information stored within users’ accounts. One notable instance of such a breach occurred with Zynga, where hackers stole login details (usernames, passwords, and email addresses) of players using Draw Something and Words With Friends. The breach impacted over 172 million accounts, making it one of the most notable data breaches in history.
How to prevent online gaming risks? It is hardly possible to protect yourself from everyone at once. However, a VPN can prevent many of these attacks. You can even use VeePN for Chrome when you search the internet. You can even open an additional tunnel in your browser within an existing VPN connection.
7 Too Much In-Game Spending
The cost of a new video game averages around $70, but players can end up spending thousands through in-game purchases, including real-money transactions for bonuses, downloadable content, virtual items, and loot boxes. Create a gaming budget to effectively monitor and evaluate expenses, encompassing everything from in-app purchases to the latest VR headset. By learning the repercussions of overspending, children can enhance their money management skills.
Enable payment notifications to receive mobile alerts, preventing impulsive spending or unwelcome surprises on your monthly statement. Restrict spending access by implementing tighter parental controls, such as multi-factor authentication or passwords, to prevent unauthorized in-game spending.
8 Privacy Issues
Cybercriminals target children due to their clean credit histories and lack of awareness regarding online security. While chatting online, children may unknowingly reveal personal information such as their address, phone number, or even credit card details.
What can be done:
- Switch the profile settings to private. Ensure that your child’s gaming profiles are not visible to the public, to hide both personal information – yours included.
- Avoid downloading from third-party sources. Malicious software can be embedded in pirated games or cheat codes. Encourage children to only download from official app stores and to read reviews beforehand.
Now there are even more threats than described here, but all of them can be countered in a similar way. There are several main components. Technical equipment (VPN, password manager, access control) is what will help avoid hacker attacks due to technology vulnerabilities. Social support from parents will help you resist psychological pressure. Clear rules are the solution to all controversial situations, for example, how much money a child can spend on games or what time a child can play.