If you play online games through your video game console, you know you are probably being spied on. Privacy concerns may be inherent in the design of the game itself, such as games that require access to your webcam or microphone.
This page lists, not the best VPNs for gaming consoles, but some of the privacy concerns in online gaming as well as some simple steps you can take to protect yourself a little.
Some companies sell all the relevant information they have collected about you during your gaming sessions to advertisers, while others collect huge amounts of data for their own personal accounts.
Knowing whether your data is secure on certain servers is complicated and evaluating the privacy of online games is an impossible task.
Confidnetiality of online games: Summary
- Denial of service attack
- Access to cameras and microphones
- Poorly protected servers
- Location tracking
- Unsecured WiFi
- Malicious software
- In-game ransomware
- Phishing attempt
- Lack of 2FA
- How to improve privacy?
Denial of service attack
This is undoubtedly the biggest scourge today. All network gamers fear it. A denial of service attack or more commonly known as DDos is a computer attack whose sole purpose is to make a service or access to a server unavailable. Online games are one of the most popular targets.
As a rule, this results in a complete saturation of a network due to a massive sending of requests. Denial of service attacks are becoming more and more common, as they do not require a lot of hardware resources.
Players of the new season 5 of Call of Duty©: Warzone™ are currently experiencing this severely since its release in September 2021. In this particular case, only using a VPN for Warzone can preserve from DDos assaults.
Online Game Privacy: Access to Cameras and Microphones
Many multiplayer games require microphone access to communicate. Very young players may not realize that the microphone is transmitting everything they say.
If someone is talking about personal information in the room, it is always transmitted to the person listening.
Many gamers stream their content to people online, which puts them at similar risk. If their personal information is visible in the background of footage or on their desktop during screen sharing, it can be stolen, misused and/or resold.
Poorly protected servers
Hacking into networked game servers can happen without you making a mistake. That’s why it’s important to keep the information you share online to a minimum.
A VPN for online gaming will do just that. The most infamous example is of course the Sony Playstation hack.
When the black hat broke into the company’s database, they gained access to the personal information of over 70 million user accounts, including names, passwords, credit card details as well as addresses.
Some games, like Pokemon Go, track your location in the real world, sometimes to sell that information to advertisers.
For example, if you frequent a certain clothing store and the game notices this, it may tell the advertiser to start showing you ads for clothing from that store. You can mitigate this problem by turning off location tracking if possible.
Ubisoft, for example, which owns the Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy franchises, can record your gaming habits at any time. It can also record your location and how much you spend in-game.
Using unsecured public WiFi puts you at risk if you enter your login credentials or credit card information. This risk is compounded by the fact that many gamers don’t use VPNs for fear of slowing down their connection speed, and thus diminishing their online gaming experience.
Malware for online games
Malicious code can be inserted into the game itself, especially if it has been hacked. This code is used to access players’ personal information, such as login details, passwords, or even payment information. Beware of free games from unknown developers.
Many gamers invest thousands of hours into their video game characters. This is especially true for massively multiplayer games like World of Warcraft. This is why many gamers have their accounts targeted: hackers know that people will pay large sums of money to have access restored. Ransomware is usually injected when players purchase power-ups, without a license, for the benefit of their character.
Regardless of the industry,phishing remains one of the most common forms ofattack. Typically, an email is sent pretending to be a trusted person, which encourages you to enter your login information. If you do, the information you enter will be stolen and used to break into your account.
With episode 18 of CoD: Vanguard in full swing, players were quick to equip themselves with a Vanguard VPN to anticipate these potential problems.
Lack of 2FA
Without two-factor authentication (2FA), the risk of getting hacked is much higher. Despite this, many gaming companies and even companies like Facebook and Google do not require users to implement 2FA, leaving them vulnerable to many of the risks.
Quite uncommon but still a possible scenario, a keylogger is a kind of malware that records all your keystrokes to capture your login credentials. Through emails or private messages, hackers posing as game developers can offer free content or access to a beta version of a new game. A keylogger records all passwords or login information, so it can steal your personal data or demand a ransom for your account.
How to improve online gaming privacy?
Gaming VPNs ensure smooth and optimized gaming sessions.
- Take the same precautions as you would to prevent a data breach, including using strong pass words and limiting the amount of information you share.
- Avoid using pirated versions of games from torrents. This may save you money, but it will also make you much more vulnerable to malware.
- Beware of cheat codes. Sometimes these run malware that can compromise your entire device.
- Be aware of phishing attacks, including in-game. If someone you don’t know sends you links or attachments, don’t click or open them.
- In your account, find your privacy settings and configure them to be optimal. For example, you can disable location tracking. In your security settings, enable two-factor authentication if it’s available.
Also be aware that online gaming platforms are not spared from attacks and geo-restrictions, you can use a VPN for Steam if you play with your computer.
These tips do not exempt you fromusing a VPN without loss of throughput. There are very good VPNs for Xbox, this one will also secure all installed add-ons like Kodi for example. Although it may seem rather fancy, you should know that thanks to applications dedicated to the most common routers, it is possible to have a VPN for Nintendo Switch. Sony being a much loved firm, the quantity of VPNs for PS4 is also quite large, make sure however not to neglect the speed for an optimal gaming experience.