Online Gaming: 5 Most Dangerous Threats And How to Avoid Them

Online Gaming Threats

A little over a decade ago, gamers were those geeky teens who stayed in their rooms and played games all day. They weren’t exactly considered an important subgroup to those looking to make a quick buck or steal valuable information. Now, though, the gaming industry is worth billions, and online gaming is a major worldwide pastime. While online gaming is great for everyone involved because it means more great games and better technology, it unfortunately also attracts the wrong kind of attention including dangerous threats.

Most people have tried at least one online game in their lifetime, whether on PC, console, mobile, or web-based games like those on Facebook. Whatever platform someone chooses and how much they play per day or week isn’t important. What is important, however, is the fact that this makes them a target for cybercriminals.

Here are the top 5 risks gamers (and kid gamers’ parents) need to keep in mind, so that they can prepare accordingly. Don’t think it can’t happen, because these types or threats pop up more and more every day. Be prepared instead, so the focus can stay on moving that payload or earning the victory royale.

1. Swatting

Even though it should seem like an insane thing that rarely happens in the real world, swatting has become an unfortunate part of online gaming. Sometimes people just lose their cool to the point of wanting to get real-life revenge, even though rage-quitting is a perfectly good option. So they trace a player’s IP address to find out where they live and then call the authorities on them. Which sometimes ends in tragedy.

Solution: Use a VPN while gaming to hide the network’s IP address and prevent salty players from taking advantage. What is a VPN? It’s a virtual private network (provided by a service) that encrypts a connection and sends it through the VPN’s servers. Users can also choose which servers they want to connect to – anywhere in the world – which provides other benefits too.

2. Phishing Attacks

Cybercriminals will always look for new ways to target people with phishing scams, and gaming platforms are not immune to this. There have been more than enough phishing attacks on clients like Steam, Xbox chat, and the Playstation Network for people to know they should be careful.

Solution: Phishing attacks come in all shapes and forms, so be wary of any suspicious-looking message from a stranger. Attackers often also target the victim’s contacts through their own account, making it look like the message is coming from a friend. Never click on a link or download something a friend sent if it’s out of the blue. Talk to them about it first to make sure it’s legit.

3. Online Bullying

Trolls and bullies have become an increasingly widespread problem. These days it’s nearly impossible to play any online game without encountering at least one. Almost every online game has some form of communication component, whether text or voice-based. Seeing insults and even some cursing is typical in highly competitive environments, but some players take it too far.

Solution: Unfortunately, the only true solution to this issue is a huge culture-shift that might or might not actually happen. As an individual, the most someone can do is block or mute the offensive player and report them to the developers. Parents should always try to limit their kids’ exposure to online chat and teach them to alert them instantly if there are problems.

4. Fraudulent Illegal Offers

That old saying – play with fire and get burnt applies so well to people looking to cheat in online games. Yet the alluring offer still exists and a lot of people (especially kids) fall for it. There are several ways to cheat, depending on the game. One very popular method is through bots and modified gaming clients, which people download from sketchy websites. The thing is, a lot of those websites claiming to offer a bot or client are just peddling malware.

Solution: Don’t fall for the temptation. It’s as simple as that. Play the game legitimately, put in real effort, and git gud. There’s no fun in winning if it was via cheating anyway.

5. Fake Apps

Since mobile gaming has become such a booming industry, many scammers take advantage by creating fake apps. These apps usually mimic real games and look legitimate to anyone who doesn’t know any better. However, when they install them, it typically becomes obvious that it’s not the real thing. Yet the damage is already done – the smartphone or tablet is now infected with malware.

Solution: Only download apps from legitimate stores like Google Play. Then still carefully examine the app to make sure it’s from a real developer and check the reviews and app permissions out first. If anything seems suspicious, stay away.

The Bottom Line

Gaming shouldn’t be a chore, so luckily these solutions don’t take up a lot of time. But just because they’re simplistic and easy to follow doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Always take online threats seriously and take the necessary precautions to avoid any problems down the line.


What other online gaming threats do you think should be avoided? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About the Author: Staff

Your friendly staff at GamesHedge, bringing you news, reviews, previews and hardware information from around the world.

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