July 8: International Video Game Day

Did you think about video games on July 8, or maybe even hook up the old Nintendo or Wi and play a few vintage or current games?
July 8 was “International Video Game Day” and gamers from all over the world had an official day to indulge in their favorite games and celebrate the evolution of their favorite pastime.

Video games have evolved from text-based games on PCs to consoles and now include mobile devices. They have become as American as apple pie and Chevrolet and as international as crepes and burritos. These sophisticated platforms have revolutionized the way we play and interact with fellow gamers around the world; however, this interaction brings opportunities for identity theft.

Consider that by 2016, an expected 1.2 billion online gamers worldwide will be connected. Cyber criminals view this access as a gold mine of opportunities to take advantage of unsuspecting gamers. Since their information is often stored in a cloud-based system to easily link consoles and devices, gamers are a prime target for valuable information to be sold in underground markets.

Also, there will be attempts to phish for virtual gaming assets. Once stolen, these assets can be sold for quick cash. If that’s not enough, cyber criminals will often spread malware onto a gamer’s console to gather sensitive information or gain access to their personal network.

If you’re a gamer, it’s essential for you to stay alert to the vulnerabilities presented by modern-day, always-connected gaming consoles. You need to be proactive in protecting both your private information and your gaming assets.

The good folks at Trend Mirco, a global leader in IT Security want to make sure you enjoy your video games to the fullest and stay safe with these quick tips:

– Use a separate email account to register for games so hackers can’t access your address book, contact information and verification details from your primary email.
– When signing up for a gaming account, decide what information is important to keep accurate. There is no need to correctly fill in details that will not interfere with your gaming experience, including your real name, address and birth date.
– Do not link your credit or debit card information to any gaming account if you do not plan on buying in-game items. If you need to make purchases within a game, ask your card provider about verification services for online transactions.
– Some games support two factor authentication. Make sure you enable it.
– Before you hand over your personal information or payment details, make sure you are on an official site by double-clicking links and branding marks.
– Be aware that connecting your console to your home network may lead to cyber criminals snooping in your system.
– Install reliable security software that can also detect malicious links and spam, and regularly scan your system to make sure that your system is malware-fee.

For more on staying safe while online, check out www.trendmicro.com.

Rick Limpert

Rick Limpert is an award winning Atlanta-based freelance writer, columnist, host of The Tech of Sports Podcast and best-selling author. He has covered sports, technology and events all over the world. His works have been featured on Yahoo Sports, Yahoo News, Examiner.com, nba.com and in Sports Illustrated.

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