You wouldn’t normally think of your gaming console as a security risk, but here we are. If you’re not careful with it, your personal data can end up in the hands of hackers. Or cybercriminals can take over your gaming accounts and delete all your data. That doesn’t sounds like much until you realize you’ll lose dozens of hours of hard work!
It’s scary, we know. But there are plenty of ways to secure your console, so don’t worry – we’ll help you out! In this article, we’ll show you the best ways to protect your gaming console and data.
Tweak Your Console’s Privacy Settings
Most gaming consoles let you edit all sorts of privacy settings. We recommend configuring most of them to protect your privacy.
For example, it’s better if you don’t display your full name. Cross-platform harassment is still alive and kicking, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going away any time soon. If a toxic player sees your real name inside a match or on a forum, they can easily track down your social media profiles. From there, it won’t take long until they start spamming you with hate speech.
It’s also a good idea to not allow people to see your online status and what you’re playing. It gives you more peace of mind, and it gives harassers less information to use against you. You can (and should) also make your gaming history private.
At the same time, you should block all toxic players that are sending you annoying, hurtful, or threatening messages. There’s no reason to let them keep doing that. And while you’re at it, you should also report them.
There are plenty of other things to be discussed about this. We suggest following the link we left in the intro to learn more about that. It’ll take you to an article written by GamerGirl, a privacy-focused blog that covers topics like VPNs and how to stay safe online.
Don’t Fall for Phishing Scams
Scammers love targeting console users with phishing messages. They usually send emails claiming to represent someone from Sony, Microsoft, or other companies. They try to trick you into revealing login credentials or accessing malicious links. They could also claim you can win a free console by installing a file (which is malware-infected) or sharing your credit card numbers or other sensitive information.
Alternatively, the scammers could message you directly on the console’s network. They might claim they represent an official representative, and say they need access to your account to solve an issue. Obviously, if you hand over
access to your account, you’ll lose it for good.
Luckily, spotting phishing messages is pretty simple:
# They always try to pressure you – they claim you have to take action right then and there otherwise your account will be deactivated or you’ll be banned.
# The messages are full of spelling errors.
# You’re asked to share sensitive information or make a payment (especially using cryptocurrencies).
And always keep in mind – no official representative will ever ask you for your password, credit card numbers, or any other similarly sensitive information.
Use a Powerful Password and Change It Often
Weak passwords put your accounts in serious danger. Research shows that hackers can easily crack weak passwords in minutes if not faster! So make sure you use a strong password. If you don’t know how to come up with one, here are some tips:
# Make the password very long. Eight characters are a good start, but not enough. We recommend a minimum of 15 or 16 characters.
# Don’t use a basic password like 1111 or 1234. Those are the easiest to crack. Instead make the password complex by using numbers, special characters, and uppercase and lowercase letters.
# If the platform lets you, add space characters into your password.
If you’re having a hard time coming up with such a password, you have two options:
1. Come up with a passphrase and use the first letter or number from each word. Take You travel to the UK every 2 years to visit Marie, your childhood friend since you were 7. A password derived from that would be YtttUe2ytvM,yfsyw7.
2. Use a good password generator. Many password managers (online tools that secure your passwords) have free password generators. And some good VPNs (online tools that encrypt your traffic) have password generators too (like ExpressVPN’s password generator).
And remember to change your password on a regular basis – like every month or two-three months. Also, if you have heard that the company whose game you’re playing suffered a data breach, we recommend logging into your account as soon as possible and changing your password.
Secure Your Home Network
If you leave your network unsecured (no password), hackers could connect to it or eavesdrop on your unencrypted traffic. Unfortunately, securing it with WPA2 or WPA3 encryption is still not enough. WPA2 is vulnerable to a cyber attack, and WPA3 has numerous security issues as well.
The best way to secure your network is to use a VPN. It encrypts your traffic (nobody can spy on it) and also hides your IP (nobody can use it to determine your geo-location). VPNs don’t natively work on gaming consoles, but you can set them up on your router. That way, your console will use a VPN connection when it goes online.
Besides securing your traffic, a VPN will also protect you from DDoS attacks. Hackers won’t be able to use your IP address to target your network with DDoS attacks (which happens quite often on console networks like the PlayStation Network, for example).
How Do You Secure Your Console?
Please let us know what security measures you take to keep your data and accounts safe. Tell us about them in the comments, and don’t forget to mention which tip you think is the most effective and why.