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As a result of the chaos caused by the coronavirus, hundreds of millions of people of all ages are voluntarily and sometimes involuntarily, grounded home. Streaming platforms have proven to be a haven for millions of people, but not everyone relies on Netflix and Apple TV+ to stay entertained. A big chunk of people has started exploring new horizons of online entertainment such as multiplayer online games. While most seasoned gamers have one way or another learned to spot and handle dangers such as online predators, malware, and cyberbullies, the newbies just entering the new worlds of online games are nothing more than a fresh stream of easy targets for cybercriminals.
In the past wannabe gamers had to go to an arcade to play with others. Nowadays, the magical world of online gaming has opened the doors to literally everyone who has a decent internet and some time to kill. Online video game publishers spent millions of dollars to maintain their platforms safe, but often their advice gets overlooked by users. And no matter the platform they are using, a PC, smartphone, Mac, Xbox, or a PS – there are dangers out there that should be mentioned to all newcomers.
Quite often, online multiplayer gamers form teams that result in virtual friendships with strangers – people who have never met in the past; are completely unverifiable; and are virtually untraceable. Players who are relatively new to the industry may end up sharing sensitive information that they wouldn’t share in the real world. Such information could be used for blackmailing or may end up draining banking accounts. The gaming platforms often require credit card verifications, too, so your personal data, as well as your financial information, ends up flowing on some gaming servers.
Sometimes the dangers are not even hidden in the fact that cybercriminals are lurking in all gaming platforms – quite often, newcomers had to deal with gaming addiction too. Older folks sometimes do not even realize that they are being charged for in-app purchases while they are slashing candy or trying to break a record on one of the other tile-matching puzzle video games. Kids and older adults are particularly susceptible, and quite often, entertainment giants launch sophisticated marketing campaigns aiming exactly at these age groups as they realize they would be good spenders.
Practice vigilance! Sharing less is better when it comes to online communication in all its forms. If you end up playing a cool game with a bunch of strangers, make sure you remain stranger to them as they are strangers to you. What unites you all is not only the fact that you are stuck home in quarantine, but also because you enjoy playing the game. If you are looking for more social or personal interactions, online gaming platforms may not be the right place for you.
Another essential point to stay safe while playing online games, in general, is always to be aware of what costs you occur while playing. It is one thing to pay a yearly fee for PlayStation Plus subscription, but it is an entirely different thing if you end up spending money every day purchasing doubloons, new skins, or upgrades. Such costs can quickly ramp up, and your monthly bill can cause you financial troubles.
Last but not least, the best way to not fall for any of the traps while playing multiplayer games online is to have proper antivirus software installed on your devices when possible. Those products are developed to add another layer of security to your connected devices and also be used as a tool to remind you to not click on suspicions links; prevent you from ending up browsing websites that may be running malicious processes, and notify you if something is out of the ordinary while you game. Quality antivirus software takes care of things that often can get overlooked while your mind is completely taken over by playing an online multiplayer video game.