Video GameAccording to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the U.S. video game industry is a lifesaver during the pandemic. In 2019 alone, it generated a financial output of $40.9 billion to the U.S. economy, employing over 140,000 Americans. Those numbers went up even more during the pandemic when people had more time to take on their fave video game. In fact, one of the few businesses that thrived during the pandemic is the gaming industry.

That should be good news for you and your kids. Video game’s ability to relieve stress is well-documented. Truth be told, its ability to create a flow state has been likened to that of meditation. In such precarious times as the pandemic when mental health issues are growing, having a go-to stress reliever is a treasure trove.

However, a word of caution: As enjoyable as your game is, you could fall prey to the wily antics of a hacker, and be ruined in the process. It may be a simple way to make the most of your prized game treasures, your high-value in-game items. But it can get worse. For one, you could be given deceptive free versions of your sought-after games (NBA 2K19, GTA) laced with malware such as Crackonosh only to be duped of your digital money. Pundits detail Crackonosh hackers have cornered over $2 million with their gaming scam.

The good news is there are proven ways you can thwart these cyberattacks. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or a casual player, if you don’t take action, you could be left defenseless. Below are some key takeaways you and your child can put to practice so you don’t end up with the long face at the end of the day.

The Dangers of Gaming

Don’t be surprised if your child is attracted to all the action. Video game makers such as  Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard Inc. are home to the best game designers. And that includes a team of programmers, 2D and 3D artists, and sound engineers. Even better, these companies make the most of game development outsourcing to boost their impressive talent pool. By doing so, they not only tap genuine experts in the field of art rendering but also ensure they meet their time of release at lower costs.

It’s no surprise the gaming community is growing by leaps and bounds. In 2021, the number is expected to reach 177.7 million monthly active gamers in America. As these numbers grow, more and more video game threats have appeared. Some of the most common are:

 Infection

Hackers know gamers are always on the lookout for free versions of popular games. So they attack the gaming community at their weakest: when downloading free or cheap versions of games. In the process, gamers download viruses and malware. An example is the Crackonosh malware. But it’s not just illegally obtained games. Sometimes items from 3rd-party sellers and cheat codes can be risky.

Active Listening

Be careful while gaming. As you’re online, someone could be listening when you leave your camera or mic or a page open. Wary for vital info, the hacker could give you a swatting attack or worse hack your bank account.

Swatting/Doxxing

Cybercriminals could make the most of your personal information and act on it. They could send police your way by reporting a crime. Or worse, stalk you. It can be a sinister way to scare you.

 Account Takeover

You probably think that having the same account log-in for all your gaming accounts is wise to give you greater comfort. But you only make hacking your account a lot easier this way.



How to Protect Yourself

The first step to protect yourself is perhaps the easiest to do. And it’s the use of strong, unique passwords. A good way to make this happen is to ensure you have different passwords for all your gaming platforms. Moreover, you can ensure you won’t be hacked even better by changing your passwords monthly. A strong password is a unique combination of numbers and symbols as well as upper and lower case letters.

Well, if you want to take this even further, use two-factor authentication so no one can access your account without your explicit permission.

Secondly, never share your personal data. It’s convenient for you to use your real name as your username. But that would make it also a lot easier for a hacker to find out. Remember always that when you’re playing online, you could inadvertently share your personal details. So do be careful. Never let your guard down by sharing any identifying factors on gaming forums or while playing as a group.

Third, don’t risk getting downloads from disreputable or unknown sites. As much as possible, source your video games from trusted sources. This means cheat codes and illegal downloads should be a no-no.

And yes, you may want to install a security program on your device to ensure you don’t fall prey to hackers while gaming. Considering that you’ll be enjoying more gaming time with the pandemic largely still uncontrolled, keeping your online security up is a small price to pay for all the long hours of happy times.