The use of the internet for gaming is now widespread, and online security issues are always present. Wherever possible, we should all be aware of the potential security risks and, through the use of firewalls and anti-virus programs, do our bit to obstruct hackers. Another positive step that we can take when online is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Online security when gaming is essential, so how can a VPN help in that regard?
A VPN is a Virtual Private Network, the purpose of which is to protect the privacy of internet users by hiding their IP address and masking the data that they are receiving and sending online. Although VPN has been primarily used for secure connections or streaming purposes within enterprise environments, gamers have been seen as a new audience that can be tapped into by several VPN companies.
Gamers have been told that a VPN can help them to play games from outside their region and to improve latency, but how accurate are those claims. For example, is using a VPN an advantage when making use of PA online casino bonus codes or when visiting other casino sites? There certainly is if anonymity and more privacy are required.
One good reason to make use of a VPN is anonymity, privacy, and increased security. Gamers who use a VPN can also protect themselves against swatting.
Although it is certainly not a common occurrence, there have been some reported instances within multiplayer games of gamers becoming so furious that they have started to stalk another player. A disgruntled gamer who finds another gamer’s IP address could hack into their online accounts or even track down where they live and begin harassing them in the real world.
Swatting is the term given to an extreme form of this behavior in which false reports send emergency services to a person’s home, something which can be very dangerous in some circumstances.
Safety when using public Wi-Fi
Many gamers often make use of public Wi-Fi when playing on their phone, laptop, or tablet as it is available in almost any location, including hotels, airports, shopping malls, and even restaurants.
Although these free hotspots can be used by gamers to connect to the internet, such services are rarely secure and are associated with some threats, including:
- Man in the middle attacks
- Unencrypted networks
- Wi-Fi snooping and sniffing
Public Wi-Fi comes with a lot of vulnerabilities that can enable malware to be installed on devices by hackers without the user’s knowledge.
The vast majority of premium VPN’s work over several different devices and provide a wide array of security features, including top-end encryption technologies.
The use of a VPN will encrypt the personal data of gamers even with public Wi-Fi, and if a hacker intercepts the data, they will still be unable to decode it.
One of the most common threats faced by those who use public Wi-Fi is known as a Man in the Middle attack. That is when an attacker intercepts data that is going between a computer and the internet.
That stolen data can be used by hackers to spy on gamers, steal their personal info and login credentials, sabotage their communications, and even corrupt their data. Any device, including the likes of laptops, mobile phones, and tablets, can be affected by such an attack.
Unencrypted networks are used by a lot of public Wi-Fi spots, which means that the data that is being transmitted between the user’s device and the router, and thus the internet, can be seen by anyone.
Cybercriminals have access to specialized devices and software that makes it easy for them to snoop on Wi-Fi traffic, allowing everything that a gamer does online to be seen by hackers, including websites that are visited and information that is entered. The data could allow a hacker to hijack a user’s banking, credit card, and social media accounts.
Bandwidth is often slowed down or throttled for various reasons by some internet service providers, usually to ease network congestion during particular days or times. The throttle can also be applied automatically when specific network traffic such as file sharing, gaming, and streaming is detected, or if a particular amount of data is transferred.
VPNs can help gamers to avoid data throttling with the encryption of data, which makes it more difficult for an ISP to determine if a user is gaming or just surfing the net.
The ports that a gamer uses may also be switched by some premium VPNs, making it even more challenging for data to be throttled by an ISP.
Lag times, which slow down computer speed, can ruin a gaming session and are often the result of long ping times between the server and the gaming device.
The use of a VPN to connect to a closer server can reduce the longer times and thus stop the lag issues.