Hackers: a huge threat overall, but mostly harmless if you know what you’re doing. Thankfully, you’ll be more than well equipped to deal with them by the time you finish reading this. Here’s the quick security 101 that will put you ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting your valuable logins.

Professional gamer

For even more tips on improving security, just follow the link. You’ll find important details about all the different dangers of online gaming and some amazing third party tools to have at your disposal.

1. How to Handle Passwords

Be honest: how often do you tend to reuse passwords? Studies show that people do so in more than 50% of cases, with about 13% using the same password for every online service. As a result, hackers have an easier time harvesting peoples’ sensitive info, from MMO accounts to personal emails and payment processing data.

Make their lives harder by creating strong, unique passwords with the help of a password manager. Why? Well, for one, you don’t have to remember a hundred different ones – just the primary pass you use for the app itself.

Second of all, they’re a great tool against fake websites designed to steal your login info, or phishing domains. Essentially, the password manager will simply not input your password, as it detects that you’re not on the correct website. Phishing scammers might be able to trick the human eye, but they can’t do much against lines of code.

Password protection

2. Leverage Free Email Services

They say you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. Or in this case, don’t tie all your accounts to a single email. If a hacker gets a hold of your primary email, they can easily reset the password to all your logins. Instead, use free encrypted services like ProtonMail or Tutanota to create different emails for every MMO, storefront, and other online services.

Even if hackers somehow compromise one account, you limit the damage they can cause. At the very least, you should create a couple of separate emails that aren’t tied to any payment processor (like PayPal). That’s where cyber attackers usually focus their efforts.

Make sure to not sign up to any newsletters with your alternate emails, either. Companies tend to share that information with third parties for promotional purposes. That just makes it more likely for your email to end up leaked in a data breach – like the recent Twitch hack that exposed 51 million users.

We can tell you right now, rushing to reset your passwords because of a company’s poor security is not exactly a fun weekend.

2-Factor Authentication (2FA)
photo credit: Jernej Furman / Flickr

3.  Turn on Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Every bit of additional security helps, and 2FA can be set up in a matter of minutes. Sure, it can be irritating to wait for an SMS confirmation code or having to use a third party app to log in. But think of it this way: those few extra seconds it takes you to log in? That’s time you won’t waste recovering your account from a hacker and resetting your other passwords.

Most online gaming services have their own authenticators nowadays. For example, Square Enix has both software and hardware tokens if you want to get fancy with your security. And if the company doesn’t have an in-house security token, they’ll usually provide other means. Say, Google Authenticator for Destiny 2, or one of the various 2FA methods for game consoles.

4. It’s Called ‘Personal’ Data for a Reason

No matter how trustworthy your friends or family might be, sharing your account with them is asking for trouble. You might be fully prepared to take on every online threat out there, but you never know how careful they are about cyber security.

And finally, be careful what kind of IRL details you share on public channels. Cities, workplaces, schools, anything you wouldn’t want Internet strangers to look up and connect with your socials. Not only can these details be used to guess the answers to your account security questions, but they can also lead to doxxing.

At its most harmless, doxxing can be a nuisance – using your name and address for some prank pizza deliveries or similar scenarios. Usually, however, doxxing results in cases of identity fraud, blackmailing, and other serious crimes. In fact, doxxing has literally cost people their lives in some extreme cases. Stay safe out there!