Tips & Tricks for Safe Gaming Online - NETSEC


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Monday, March 1, 2021

Tips & Tricks for Safe Gaming Online


For as long as we’ve made regular use of the internet, cyber attacks and digital security vulnerabilities have been significant concerns. And unfortunately, we have only seen those concerns intensify over time. As seen in our reporting of the ‘Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches List from 2014 to 2021’, the numbers of breaches and leaked records has escalated by billions each of the last few years.

All this really means for our ordinary, day-to-day use of technology and the internet is that we need to practice vigilance and basic security. But there are some activities for which this is easier than others. Basic web browsing and communication, for instance, can be made secure by way of fairly simple tools like VPNs, email encryption and the like. Where some internet recreation is concerned though, people tend to expose themselves more easily to potential cyber threats.

In particular, online gaming is an area in which people should be particularly careful. Speaking broadly, this is a practice that can involve random websites, game downloads, digital communication with strangers, and in some cases monetary deposits. This is not to say that online gaming is inherently unsafe. But gamers should practice some basic safety measures in order to avoid potential cybersecurity risks.

For what we might call regular video games — arcades, console experiences and the like — the key is simply to avoid disreputable sources for anything that involves payments or downloads. That is to say, if you’re looking to download a video game meant for console or PC play, don’t download it from a site you can’t recognize or review. Instead, opt for a well-established platform like Steam that acts as a known, vetted business in the space.

The type of online gaming that requires a little bit more care and diligence is casino gaming. Here too though, there are some simple yet clever steps a gamer can take to establish that a site or gaming source is legitimate and less likely to be inherently risky.

Check for Sponsorships

Many of the casino gaming platforms you’ll naturally wind up at if you’re searching for games are based in Europe and operate internationally. And among them, many of the busiest and most reputable platforms have sponsorship agreements with professional athletic teams. Look through 
2020/21 Premier League sponsorship deals alone and you’ll find that numerous teams are associated with gaming-related companies. High-profile partnerships of this nature are strong indications that a gaming company is a legitimate and trustworthy business to play with (though by no means are these the only platforms to work with).

Check for Certifications & Affiliations

An even simpler trick is to simply look toward the footer on a gaming site you’re considering using and see what certifications, affiliations, and security notices are listed. The 
slingo and scratch section on Foxy Games shows how helpful this can be, specifically because it represents a platform that demonstrates trustworthiness despite being new. Slingo and scratch games are relatively new to the online community, which might lead some to question sources. The bottom of this page, however, provides numerous links to organizations and certifications that have to do with gaming fairness and security. These establish the site’s credibility. When you don’t see them (or if they don’t seem to link to anything real), you know that a site may be less secure.

Trust Free Play

Generally, online gamers can trust free-to-play options, whether that means a free slot machine spin at a professional gaming site, or a free poker app from the Android or iOS app store. This doesn’t mean that gaming options like these are entirely without risk. Basic vigilance is still necessary, and if a free game asks for any sort of personal information (or asks for payment on file despite being free), it’s worth questioning. But for casual play without downloads, registration, or deposits, there’s no specific reason to distrust free games from reasonable sources.

Avoid New Payment Structures

At least in the early going, it’s also best to be cautious about new payment options you might see offered at online casino gaming sites. For instance, you might see a site pitching a special deal if you agree to deposit funds via a new payment processor you aren’t familiar with. Another common example might soon be cryptocurrency. 
Entrepreneur reported just recently on cryptocurrency’s entry into eSports, and there are some who think casinos won’t be far behind. Options like these are not necessarily unsafe. Indeed, in the long run they may enhance cybersecurity in some ways. At least when they’re new though, it’s best to be cautious. A site asking you to spend money in a new way shouldn’t be blindly trusted.

Online gaming can be a perfectly safe activity, and with the proper approach poses no greater a cyber risk than any other day-to-day activity. As with those other activities though, it’s best to be prepared, and to know how to identify and approach safe sources for these games.

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