According to a study, online gamers aged 25-35 now spend 6.2 hours a week playing games, while those aged 45-65 spend 7.5 hours a week. This comes with a staggering rise in the percentage of 45-65-year-olds who play games online and an overall increase in traffic to online gaming sites.
The 3 Main Threats of Online Games, and How to Avoid Them:
Phishing is an increasingly common type of email scam where illegitimate entities like scammers and hackers pretend to email you from a legitimate site.
In the world of online games, scammers use phishing techniques to send innocent people emails with links to “free” online gaming sites. Beware! These links are often malicious and can infect your computer.
How to avoid falling victim to a phishing attack:
- Be cautious of suspiciously written emails from unknown senders promising a free online gaming experience.
- Don’t click on any links in these emails.
- Delete them right away!
Are you concerned you may be a victim of a phishing attack? Read our article on common email scams and how to avoid them here.
2. Identity Theft
A recent study by McAfee showed that a staggering 62% of children play online games where they can speak to others and that 60% of parents worry about personal and financial information being hacked.
Cybercriminals may use the chat function in online games to mine personal information from you, which can lead to a loss of data privacy and security. This is another great reason why not to use personal information in your passwords ex. your dog’s name is not a good password if you’re going to tell everyone your dog’s name.
Here’s how to avoid identity theft:
- If you play online games and engage in conversations with other players, make sure to avoid giving any personal information to them.
- Don’t click on links that they send you.
- If you have kids or grandkids playing online games, make sure to educate them on the dangers of revealing personal information to strangers online!
- You can also enable parental controls to restrict access to the chat function in online games.
Need some inspiration for that very important digital safety talk? Here are 5 valuable tips you need to share with your children before they go online.
3. Computer Infections
No matter how careful you are about avoiding chat features and clicking on suspicious links, just visiting an online game site can be dangerous enough for your computer’s security. Cybercriminals often target users of game sites (even when you’re playing something as simple as solitaire or bridge!) with sophisticated pop-up ads and downloadable viruses and malware.
How to avoid viruses and malware when visiting a games site:
- Make sure you have an antivirus protection program downloaded on your computer. This protects you continuously from incoming threats that leave you vulnerable to decreased computer performance and data theft.
- Run a FixMeStick Quick Scan after your kids have been using the computer so you have peace-of-mind knowing it’s clean before you go to use it.
- To avoid malicious pop-ups that interrupt your game, you can install a free pop-up blocker like AdBlock Plus. There are a few scams pretending to be AdBlock Plus out there, so we recommend using this link.
Looking for an antivirus your can trust? We recommend McAfee Total Protection. It comes with a built-in web adviser that acts as a guide to staying safe online, reminding you when you are visiting a potentially unsafe online games site, or about to download a nasty virus from your favorite game!
There is clearly a multitude of terrifying threats out there in the world of online games, but that shouldn’t mean that you or your child should avoid having fun! Follow our tips in the article above to help you keep your computer infection-free and your data private when playing games online.