You’ve finished building that gaming desktop. You’ve got the graphics card you’ve always wanted, your triple monitor set up, and in-home surround sound. But what about protection from hackers? To snag game account names and passwords is jackpot and a big business for cyberspace bottom dwellers. Here are some tips you can use to protect yourself.
PC gaming can be dangerous, but don’t let that scare you away. There are a host of simple steps you can take to make sure your private information is protected. The first may seem just too simple to state, but a robust antivirus will keep most nasty worms and malware viruses off your computer. While many worms only clog up and slow down your computer by installing third-party software on it, it oftentimes isn’t harmful. Malware on the other hand can attack your computer in a much more serious way. Malware, short for malicious software, can be programmed to spy on you, access personal information, or even override subsystems giving control of the computer to the virus’s maker. Lifelock provides many resources on its site about the dangers of malware.
Luckily, programmers of antivirus software are working on your side. With so many tech sites, it isn’t difficult to do some homework and find the best antivirus for your needs. Some of the best on the market are Bitdefender, ESET Nod 32 and Norton Antivirus.
Antivirus isn’t always enough to stop hackers (at least the really good ones) from accessing your personal information, or getting access to your online gaming accounts. If a hacker is blocked by an antivirus, then they might resort to phishing. Phishing is a term used when a hacker poses as an official company and tries to trick a user into providing the hacker with usernames and passwords. With this information, the hacker doesn’t even need a virus. Instead he or she can simply log into one of your accounts. To protect yourself against phishing, never give out your personal information to unauthorized websites, don’t click on links or download anything from an email you’re not familiar with, and never enter personal information in a pop-up screen.
The last danger, and one of the most severe when PC gaming, is that of keystroke hackers. In this instance, malware is secretly placed onto your computer. This does nothing but record your keystrokes and send what you have typed to the virus maker. This is technically a form of phishing, but unlike email phishing, it employs malware that must get past your antivirus first. Though unlikely, it does sometimes happen.
To protect against keystroke hackers you’ll want to get a two-factor authenticator. The best authenticators have apps that you can download on your smartphone and then link to your gaming accounts. After you enter your username and password you’ll be asked for a code. Just bring up the app of the authenticator you are using and the constantly renewing code will be there. Each code can only be used once, and you’re the only person getting the code, so even if malware is recording your keystrokes, there’s no way a hacker can access your account because once you key in the code from your authenticator, it is no longer valid. The hacker has reached a dead end. The most trusted authenticators are the Google Authenticator and Authy.