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Online Gaming: the 4 main threats

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A recent report from Kaspersky Lab, one of the worlds largest companies in information security solutions and antivirus software, identified a number of threats and dangers for those who love to play online, in particular from their smartphones and tablets.

Regardless of any habits and precautions taken, it is very important to know the risks associated with online gaming.

There are many hazards that threaten not only our wallets but also our privacy. In this article we have selected four dangers that should be kept in mind to protect our digital identity when playing online.

1. Bullying and grooming: a warning for our children

In my view this is the biggest threat. Almost all online games today include a chat, which allows communication with other players. Unfortunately this tool is used sometimes improperly.

During a battle in an online multiplayer video game, you may be sent abuse. Given that most players are very competitive, there is the temptation to start to humiliate losing players or those at a disadvantage, beyond limits or reason.

This is particularly dangerous in cases where children are the subject of the name-calling. In other cases, it is possible that the child actually receives sexual solicitations. This is grooming, a phenomenon comparable to on-line pedophilia. Advice: nip in the bud every abuse and provocation, do not play or chat with the kinds of people who exercise this behavior and report immediately their profile name to game administrators. Never reveal your real identity or personal information to other players. If your teens and children play regularly, teach them to discuss with you any problems faced.

2. Phishing: watch your wallet! 

Phishing is when a hacker sends an email with a link to a fake website that is similar to the original – such as the website of a bank where our savings are held. The goal is to steal login credentials of credit cards or bank accounts. This same tactic is also used by online game users. Hackers build a fake site resembling that of the preferred online video game and force players to "change their password" or "validate their account", threatening to block the account if the victim does not proceed with the operation. Advice: never click on any links in a suspicious email and if the sender is unknown.

3. Theft of account and game resources: When it’s more than just a game

Another possible risks of online gaming are the theft of accounts and of internal resources of the game by hackers. For example it is possible to steal from videogame accounts, particularly those associated with credit cards. There are many ways to do this, including with phishing or malware designed to steal passwords. This danger is particularly strong for games involving many paying users all over the world. Tip: Always be alert and careful with your account, and use a complex and unique password. Also be very aware of phishing emails and other attempts to steal credentials.

4. Violation of computers and smartphones: Privacy at risk

Another serious danger of online gaming is the violation of computers and smartphones by hackers.

This is especially harmful from a privacy point of view, since it may involve stolen photos, videos and data from our personal lives. In addition to various tricks, hackers may try to hit the players with fake "video game updates" or "different game utility". Harmful Apps that could be spread via phishing, internal communications to the game, attachments sent via forums or chats. Tip: to counter these abuses players should maintain devices on which the latest patches are included and the best Internet Security solution on the market have been installed.

Online gaming: increasingly common, especially amongst women

Aside from these four threats, one thing above all is clear. Until recently, video games were mainly the preserve of boys between 13 and 17 years, however this is no longer the case. Increasingly, online gambling is becoming a pastime for adults, regardless of age, and women are starting to get a taste for it too.

It could almost be said that “Little players grow", to paraphrase the title of a famous book. In short, the number of young women and those over 50 who love online games has risen steadily. For years, women and video games had never been a winning combination. It is changing.

According to data from the Some Entertainment Software Association, women now account for 48 percent of players in the United States. There are many reasons for this explosion in numbers: the greater sense of loneliness that drives adults to play online, the large offer of free games on social network platforms – largely on the go – such as Candy Crush Saga on Facebook, and the ease of finding free games on the net to suit all tastes.

In short, the phenomenon is increasing. You just need to look around in the morning when you are on the bus to see how many people are focused on playing online on their mobile phones, with all due respect to newspapers and magazines. I guess it would be appropriate to say that once upon a time we had to watch out that our wallets weren’t stolen while on the tram. These days, we have to make sure it’s not our digital identities!

 

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