Are your children online gaming? Safety is important

Are your children online gaming? Safety is important

Christmas is over, the schools are still on holiday and your children may well be whiling away their time by online gaming. Although this is perfectly harmless, they may well be potential targets for cyber criminals drawn by the opportunity to gain credit card and other useful information.

They may be using secured gaming platforms but they can still fall prey to scams using infected screensavers or “cheats” infected with malware for example. Many youngsters use gaming forums for guidance from more experienced players, unfortunately some threads can have false advice and bad links which might infect their devices.

To keep your family safe, follow these guidelines:

  • Install reliable anti-malware on the gaming device. Make sure it is always updated and check that it hasn’t been turned off by an IT savvy youngster trying to improve performance.
  • To reduce the risk of being redirected to fraudulent websites, make sure that they use a secure browser and keep this updated too.
  • Make sure that youngsters understand the importance of their passwords/credentials, and that they use them only on reliable websites. Encourage them to seek your advice if they are unsure about the validity of a site.
  • The only safe place to buy game code is from the gaming companies, trading via forums could leave you open to an array of costly scams.
  • Using public Wi-Fi presents security risk for all of us, make your children aware of these risks and encourage them to change their passwords for temporary ones whilst on public Wi-Fi, reverting back to their usual one back at home.
  • Game accounts are high value targets for cyber criminals. Make sure youngsters don’t have tags, in-game names or aliases that indicate that they are children, choose credentials that give away no personal information.
  • “Cheats” can get a player banned from a game. Worse still, it’s estimated that 90% of commonly traded cheats are infected with malware.

And then there’s social media. Fan sites are full of people offering to befriend the unwary, Facebook games that rely on topping up energy or trading are havens for the cyber-criminal. Stranger danger is as important online as it is on the street.