It doesn’t matter if you’re a casual viewer or an ardent gamer: eSports comes with its own set of risk factors that apply almost equally. The Sports Techie community blog wants our international and domestic gamers to do your cyber best to stay safe when digitally connected, whether playing a video game, or not. And if you’ve been a member of the e-sports community since its inception, you may think your cybersecurity measures are adequate.
This mentality can be dangerous though. Just as gaming technologies have become more complex, so too has cybercrime. All data is pointing to the fact that cybercrime is rising — now is the time to evaluate your own defense to ensure your device and personal data’s security.
Here are cover five key ways to do just that.
Stay as anonymous as possible
There’s no need to share personal information with internet strangers, and there’s especially no need to let them know your full real name, address, or even the city you live in. Your personal info is then keystone to your whole identity, and identity theft is still an issue in 2021. Instead, stay as anonymous as possible. This is not just for kids either, adults beware too.
Use a dedicated bank account for gaming and watching
While having all your financial assets and cards consolidated is convenient, try and keep a separate card for your e-sports activities. Keep just enough cash in there as you need and protect your savings from a major breach. According to Trend Micro, cyberattacks against e-sports platforms are increasing and hackers know that gaining account information is a viable way to make a buck.
If there is a breach at your favorite platform, you can quickly cancel your gaming card and rest safe in the knowledge that the bulk of your financial assets are elsewhere.
Step up the cybersecurity tools
Whether you’re connecting to play or watch from a PC or a Mac, it’s not enough to rely on your device’s in-built cybersecurity tools. Instead, invest in high-quality third-party software, that is, software made by dedicated security companies. You’ll need an antivirus, antimalware, and a solid firewall.
In addition, get a VPN so you can generate a private browsing network and keep your online activities safe and shielded from prying eyes. Your VPN also encrypts all the data transmissions you make while it’s turned on.
Beware of phishing scams
Phishing is a type of social engineering attack that relies upon human psychology to get users to interact with a digital threat. In e-sports, phishing attacks may take the form of unprompted trade requests, messages telling you that someone has sent money to your Steam Wallet, or “exclusive” invites to special events that require you to click a link.
And that’s just the tip of the scam iceberg. Be very wary of unsolicited messages and even warier of the links in those messages.
Avoid suspicious software
Some websites, mostly those that boast about their gaming tips, benefits, or cheats, offer you free downloadable software. Do not download the software you find on these websites as many of these programs carry spyware or keyloggers. Always get your software directly from the source, be it Steam, the App Store, or Origin.
Staying safe while being active in the e-sports community is largely a matter of common sense. Follow the tips mentioned above and keep your data secure.
Sports Techie, eSports at Clifton High School in New Jersey is a club not a varsity sport but they have 40 or so kids that play. These high schoolers are also representative of the thousands of schools nationwide that compete in eSports as clubs and varsity programs. College eSports are thriving too. The Big East Conference plays in the Electronic Gaming Federation (EGF). The cream of the eSport crop is of course, professional video game players and teams. The image above represents senior citizens playing video games making the sport truly cross-generational. My 7-year son and his 3-year old brother play on the Switch but will graduate soon enough to a PS5 or Xbox gaming consoles, then a PC or Mac make especially for gaming. It’s the way.
The bottom line is this, cyber attacks, hackers and bad links are just a part of what can happen to you online when gaming if not digitally protected.
Play smart, surf intelligently and understand that your video game habits are being watched and exploited by bad, digital intentions.
When in doubt, change your password.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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