Gaming online is an increasingly popular pastime. Whether it’s testing your knowledge with a virtual quiz, connecting with other video game players over the worldwide web or taking advantage of an attractive casino bonus offer at a premier betting site, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself occupied and entertained from the comfort of your own home.
But while the familiarity of your surroundings might impart a sense of security, you should be mindful that cyber-crime is on the rise. Malicious hackers and cyber criminals are always on the lookout for vulnerable users whose data and money they can steal. How can you protect against such an eventuality? These handy tips should help to keep you safe while gaming online.
Protect your computer
An unscrupulous and opportunistic thief will gain access to your sensitive information via any route they can. Having said that, playing games online on an improperly protected laptop, smartphone or any other connected device is akin to leaving the front door of your house open for any burglar to waltz in off the street.
With that in mind, it’s imperative that you install a quality anti-virus and firewall system on your computer, updating it whenever a new version or patch becomes available. The same goes for the software of the game you’re playing, too; fortunately, most providers automatically update their game as it becomes available, but staying on top of new developments is always advisable.
Protect your identity
As well as protecting the hardware and software you use, you’ll also want to ensure that you keep your identity safe from prying eyes. That means using strong username and password credentials. For the former, choose one which doesn’t reveal too much about your real identity, while the latter should comprise a combination of numbers, letters and symbols that is very tricky for others to guess.
It goes without saying that you should never reveal these credentials to anyone else, either in real life or online. Although it might be tempting, passwords should not be recycled from one platform to another, while changing your password on a regular basis (every six months, for example) can enhance your protection online even further.
Choose a respected provider
Another way to ensure that the games you play online are legitimate is to choose a responsible and respected provider. You can verify the reputation of the provider in question by looking at how long they’ve been in business, if they have ever run into legal disputes in the past and reading reviews from previous customers.
Any time you part with sensitive information or make a deposit of money onto a site, you should ensure that it has the proper security certificate. You can check this by looking for the small padlock at the beginning of its website URL, or ensuring that the URL itself starts with “https” (as opposed to just “http”).
Read the small print
According to the UK Gambling Commission, a staggering 80% of people do not read the terms and conditions of the website upon which they’re gambling. While this rule is particularly important for online casinos, it’s equally applicable to any site with which you interact heavily and to whom you entrust sensitive data, like your address, contact details and bank account information.
Always make sure that there are no hidden catches or fees before opening up an account with a new gaming provider. That way, you’ll avoid any unpleasant surprises further down the line and ensure that not only do you stay safe, but you also stay happy when gaming online.