Whether they're first on the leader board, they've taken pole position, or their team is winning the league...don’t allow your kids to lose to cyber criminals when gaming online.
Many people enjoy playing games online. In fact, an estimated 1.2 billion of us are regularly logging on, signing up and playing online. A lot of these people are young children.
Some people like the fun and thrill of it, others are deadly serious. But one thing we should all be deadly serious about is the risk that comes with online gaming.
Because unfortunately, whenever money or personal data is changing hands online, criminals can be watching, looking for some way to turn the situation to their advantage.
So, taking advice from the National Cyber Security Centre, we’ve constructed the below guidance which is intended to help safeguard you, your child and any personal data when gaming.
Whether it's via a PC, console, phone or tablet, these steps will help prevent players falling victim to a criminal.
Secure your devices
The majority of cyber-attacks exploit publicly known weaknesses in devices and software. Keeping all software up to date will help to prevent these attacks from being successful.
Keep operating systems, and other software up to date. The easiest way to do this is to turn on automatic updates, if you can.
Where possible, adding another layer of defence to your devices in the form of antivirus software is a sensible precaution. This should also be kept up to date.
Gaming accounts should be well protected with a strong password, ideally one which has not been re-used on other accounts. You should also turn on 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) if available which will provide an extra layer of protection to prevent someone hacking into the account.
Try to keep the information that is shared online to a minimum. Apply privacy settings to ensure personal data isn't visible to other players, and personal information must never be shared 'in-game'.
When disposing of old game consoles and other devices, make sure to delete all personal data and account details.
Use official sources or stores
Whatever device is being used to play games, always attempt to verify the source of anything installed. The easiest way to do this is to use official sources and stores.
Cyber attackers often attempt to circumvent in-game security measures by persuading the player to do something outside of the game itself. For example, a player you or your child doesn't know may suggest an 'upgrade' be installed and supply a link for the download. The offer could also come in the form of a well-crafted phishing email, promising some kind of freebie related to a favourite game.
By relying on the official sources for all software you are much less likely to accidentally install malware on your computer, tablet or other device.
Protecting younger players
From cyberbullying to excessive time spent playing games, to unscrupulous games which encourage children to pay for content, keeping young children safe online is a major concern. Here are some useful external links to sources of information:
Check out National Online Safety, a resource for schools but which also has some great advice and guidance for parents on popular games such as Fortnite, Roblox and FIFA, or EA FC 24 as the new version is called.
The latest edition of EA Sports' flagship footy game, EA FC 24, has recently been launched, and it's set to become one of the most-played games of the holidays.
Within the game, the popular Ultimate Team mode has led to online scammers attempting to entice players to part real money for non-existent in-game assets, so caution around this element of the game should be practiced.
Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to email@example.com. Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).