Imagine logging into your favorite game only to find your character standing there, all but naked. All of your hard-earned loot – gone. Your weapons, armor, and inventory are stripped as bare as your character. It might not be this dramatic, but for gamers – hacking is a legitimate concern. Having your account hacked can feel a lot like having your home robbed, according to a Forbes reporter who had his Diablo 3 account hacked. Hit the jump for more on this bane of gaming existence!
Account hacking can lead to more than just losing your gaming items. It can also lead to identity theft, credit card fraud, and more. On sites like Battle.net, where players have access to all of their Blizzard games, hackers have access to more than just your game. In August of 2004, Blizzard announced that their internal systems had been hacked, giving access to user’s passwords, security question answers, and email addresses. It took them five days to report the attacks to users. It’s not the only time this kind of thing has happened.
In April of 2011, a security breach to Sony’s PlayStation Network affected up to 77 million users, according to HomelandSecurityNewswire.com. It caused the network to be down for weeks. But the nightmare continued in October when the system was hacked again, according to Venture Beat. The popular World of Warcraft was struck in 2012 by what was called the “WoW mass murder hack”, as PC Mag explains. Gamers logged in to find the skeletons of hundreds of players. The hackers had released a plague that killed every character in Stormwind and Orgrimmar, two of the game’s largest cities. In games such as World of Warcraft, it isn’t simply a matter of losing some hours of gaming time. As Joystiq explains, custom characters in the game can sell for thousands of dollars in some cases.
While online gaming remains one of the most popular ways to game, you have to use caution with the information you have online. Using a service such as LifeLock identity theft protection helps you keep your information secure even in situations of online gaming.
Here are some tips, with some ideas from Gamers First, that can help you protect your gaming world:
Create unique user names and passwords for each account – If you use the same one for every account, hackers can access all of them, if they happen to crack one.
Don’t save your user name and password – It makes it way too easy for the hackers if you save your user name and password into the system.
Don’t use your name in your log in information – Using your real name in your log in information gives hackers another clue to your identity.
Don’t save your credit card information – It may not sound appealing to have to get up and find your debit card each time you want to make a purchase in the game, but it’s far more inconvenient to have to deal with the nightmare of credit card theft.
Never disclose your address or financial information online – Again, way too much information.
Don’t use modded game systems – They are far more prone to hacking and identity theft.
Never meet untrusted gamers outside of the game – You may think you know them, but really they are strangers.