The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us into the safety of our homes, whether this “self-quarantine” is mandatory or not. During quarantine, we’ve been forced to find new ways to entertain ourselves—to keep ourselves from going stir-crazy.
Some have flocked to movies, others music, and many others—video games. Many have flocked to eSports games, video games centered around competition, including “League of Legends,” “VALORANT,” “Dota 2,” and vice versa.
And while it’s great that people are trying out new things and having fun doing so, one thing that must not be overlooked is the issue of cybersecurity. While eSports games offer hundreds of hours of entertainment, there’s always the risk of having your security compromised.
3 Risks Centered Around eSports
In this section, we’ll explain the vulnerabilities of eSports games, vulnerabilities you should watch out for, and how to protect yourself (but we’ll get to that later).
Many streamers have leaked their personal information online, either through accident or on purpose. The leaking of said information usually leads to viewers digging into their personal life, and sometimes leads to viewers extorting the player for money, favors, or other things.
Some games have been found to be vulnerable to certain security threats, some of these threats resulting in data leaks. Playing games is fun, but not when it comes at the cost of, you know, having all of your data leaked and putting your security at risk.
Perhaps the most common “hack” of any competitive game, DDoS attacks run rampant in certain competitive scenes. DDoS attacks, known otherwise as distributed denial-of-service attacks, interrupt the service of someone’s internet, leaving them unable to complete a game or even participate.
3 Ways to Keep Yourself Safe
Now that we’ve gone over the risks included in participating in the eSports scene, lets’ talk about the ways you can protect yourself from ever encountering these risks.
Use a Password Manager
For how useful they are, not many people have heard about password managers. Let’s fix that, right here, right now.
A password manager acts as a “locker” of sorts, storing all of your passwords. This may sound unsafe at first, but keep in mind that your passwords are stored in hashes, meaning a cybercriminal can’t simply steal your passwords straight from the locker.
With a password manager, you don’t need to worry about people stealing your password and losing access to your accounts, especially since password managers come with the ability to suggest strong passwords.
Use a VPN
Next up, we have virtual private networks, VPNs for short. A VPN encrypts any traffic going to and from your device, meaning people can’t simply steal your data off a network, even if you were to be on a public network.
VPNs also have the added benefit of lowering ping during games, though this benefit depends on where you’re located. No matter what, however, it’s worth using a VPN to enhance your gaming experience.
Don’t Share Personal Information Online
Last but not least, we come to the golden rule of the Internet: never share your personal information online. Yes, while many people do it, doesn’t mean you should. This goes double for people who participate in eSports.
The competitive scene is ripe with people who spew toxicity and hatred towards other people, and giving them your personal information is just asking for targeted harassment. It’s happened before, and it can happen again. After all, it was only a few years ago that SWAT-ing was a popular thing to do to others.
Remember, don’t share personal information, even if it’s an online friend you’ve known for a long time.