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Online Gaming and Data Privacy: The Risks, The Targets, and The Usual Suspects

Can you hear them—the internal screaming of gamers as they realize that their information has been stolen from their beloved games? 

Have you heard of Razer’s and Minecraft’s controversial information leakage? Razer and Minecraft are two of the biggest names in the gaming industry, and both are currently on trial as of writing this blog. The trial involved the player information being leaked all over the internet, a case that had to be verified, investigated, and retraced to determine what and how it happened.

Let’s look at the facts and determine whether they are guilty or not. 

In January 2015, Minecraft took the internet by storm with approximately over 1,800 usernames and player passwords disclosed online! In August 2020, we saw Razer’s customer data from online purchases to emails to phone numbers and items ordered! Thankfully, the credit card information was not seen. 

With such sensitive customer info leaked to the digital community, it was inevitable that people and critics were quick to question the credibility and efforts for securing customer privacy of both companies.

Who are the suspects? Is it the work of hackers or mishandling of the website? A multitude of questions run through our heads as players, but our verdict: guilty.

Though both companies have each released statements claiming the leakage was purely accidental, there is no mistaking the pounding of an anxious and frightened heart! Realistically and objectively speaking, both companies are guilty and at fault. Accident or not, the issue is not to be taken lightly. Whichever the reason, online gaming privacy is at stake and we need to defend ourselves and our fellow gamers!

Join us as we embark on a journey to defend our privacy as gamers and reevaluate the existing countermeasures previously done by the gaming community to ensure that our prized jewels (our information) will not be not stolen by hackers or trolls.

What are the Risks of Online Gaming: The Road to Mystikótita

As fellow warriors against the perilous waters of gaming, the risks come in seven forms. We are to stand strong and make our way into the kingdom of Mystikótita (privacy) and regain control over our favorite games.

  1. Real Money Trading
  2. Phishing for Gold
  3. Virus Outbreak
  4. Tower of Trolls
  5. Neo’s Matrix
  6. Valley of Rage
  7. Stop the Rebellion

1. Real Money Trading

Games like open world, FPS, and MMORPGS are, more often than not, a place where players want to get ahead of others. These players are willing to pay for anything, from armour, to weapons, to rare items that would enhance their respective characters. Albeit using money is an easy way to get rare items and skills, it is, in fact, a known risky move in the gaming world. 

If you don’t know any better, you could get scammed and people would take the money without fulfilling their end of the bargain. Also, your credit card information could get leaked in the proces since there will always be hackers trying to impose their ideals of a fun game on other players. You might also be frequently connecting to public WiFi connections while playing online. Public WiFis are rife with hackers and online scammers.

2. Phishing for Gold

As gamers, there will always be the desire and drive to become the top player in every game we choose to play. Competitiveness is a good trait to have when playing online, but it could also be the very factor that makes us vulnerable against phishing schemes. 

Phishers can imitate big-time gaming companies and send random emails to unsuspecting players. They create new domains and use it to send threats to players to share personal information and push them to enter said domain. 

Some of the usual information that they typically steal from their targets include credit card numbers, phone numbers, home addresses, and account passwords. They want your gold, so don’t let them take it away so easily with a threat and a fake email. Contact the game’s customer support right away for any suspicious message or activity you encounter during gameplay. Alert authorities when you experience threats to help apprehend the offenders immediately.

3. Virus Outbreak

One of the scariest outbreaks in the world of gaming is the presence of malware. Hackers could sneakily add viruses to the content that players download, especially for games that have patches and DLC downloadable content. Hackers do this for various reasons, including their own amusement, benefit, or even a mixture of both. Viruses are capable of infecting a computer’s entire system or program. They can destroy files and also cause a drastic PC reformatting, all of which are troublesome and unforeseen. 

Of course, while the malware invades and infects your PC, the hacker is busy wiping out every single viable information stored in your computer. Be careful of the content you download for your games. Make sure to take extra precaution with antiviruses and ask your in-game customer support for help on how to restore your account and protect it from possible intruders.

4. Tower of Trolls

In every gameplay, there will always be that one person whose primary role seems to be to  rile up everyone with their words or kill, steal and blame your teammate for your incompetence or the team’s defeat.. 

The atmosphere of the game changes and it becomes toxic compared to what you expected. It was all fun and games until the trolls began to ambush you on your peaceful gaming time. Cyberbullying comes into play here and this is why it is important as well to keep your private information to yourself since you are playing against strangers that could potentially use the information you give them to destroy you and threaten you into giving them more information than necessary. The worst-case scenario is they could try and extort money from you.

5. Neo’s Matrix

Hackers love to bend the rules when it comes to getting the upper hand in games. Gamers from a rich background tend to use large sums of money to adapt and boost their gameplay, but that all goes to waste because of a glitch. 

All the money used and the items bought are gone because a one-time glitch caused your game to crash. Also, some players use the glitch itself to scam other players since they could win a bet and the prestige of winning in your favorite game. Recheck the specs of the game and who you are getting it from to prevent viruses RTM, and phishing tendencies.

6. Valley of Rage

Every player has gone through this valley more than once and even every round of their gameplay experience. This is one of the dangers of online gaming since trolls are a big contributor here, along with glitches and bugs that degrade the gaming experience. 

For example, a fraudulent player offers an online trade for a rare item to defeat a boss. You get enticed and buy the item, but it turns out that you got scammed and all your wealth has already been taken from the game itself. Rage quitting might be your go-to coping mechanism, but for what? Destroying the console or your PC? Nothing good comes from that, so while you are blinded by anger and frustration, fortify your fortress of solitude and ask the customer support in the game. Get assistance on your account issues and report any fraudulent in-game activities and inappropriate behavior exhibited by other gamers.

7. Stop the ‘Rebellion’

All the risks of online gaming, along with their corresponding preventive measures listed in the previous items all boil down to stopping the rebellion. To stop the digital rebellion in online gaming basically means taking a stand to prevent players from getting scammed or trolled. It also means fortifying the console you are using through a joint effort between you and the customer service representatives. 

Make sure you are able to ask about the perimeters of the game, what measures they are going to take and how they are going to implement sanctions. Like any other kingdom, there has to be a strong ambassador who communicates and handles the problems of the people while the king is away, trying to create new updates for the game. A game that has a strong customer support service eases the minds of the players since they would be talking to experts and assist in stopping the promoters of online gaming rebellion (scammers, trolls, cheating, etc.).

You can also check: ONLINE GAMING SECURITY RISKS: HOW TO HAVE A SAFE GAMING EXPERIENCE

The Risks, the Targets, The Usual Suspects: The Endgame

How you fight your way to reach Mystikótita is up to you. We have given you sufficient warnings about the specific risks and possible solutions on how to battle your way to maintain your security and protect your fellow gamers. Trust the customer support reps and allow them to handle your concerns with care and promptness. 

They know what you are going through and all you need to do is wait for them to reply. Also, do not ever forget to install viable antivirus software as a precaution and be wary of offers from strangers as well. Limit your interaction with gamers that you barely know. Yes, some games require you to interact with other players but keep all communication about the gameplay. 

All in all, don’t forget to have fun and keep these friendly reminders in mind for a secure and satisfying gaming experience!

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