What is a VPN and How Can It Improve Your Online Gaming Experience?
There’s a lot of talk today about internet security, and with good reason. More of us than ever are spending time online whether it be to work, shop or chat with friends. It is therefore very important that we take the appropriate steps to ensure that our privacy is protected and we are not putting ourselves at risk of being duped by cybercriminals.
There are many tools and resources that you can harness to stay safe whilst exploring the web. One of the most popular of these is a VPN. A VPN tunnel works to encrypt your personal data, making it inaccessible to snooping eyes and preventing your location from being discovered by monitoring individuals and agencies.
VPNs should be used at all times when accessing the internet, including whilst playing games. The interactive nature of gaming and the amount of information that is shared by gamers online makes them a prime target for cybercriminals; luckily, there are a number of easy changes you can make to your online behavior to protect yourself.
What is a VPN? VPN stands for virtual private network and refers to an internet connection that grants you added privacy and anonymity whilst searching online. A VPN masks your internet protocol (IP) address in order to block prying eyes from discovering your location and also creates an encrypted tunnel, preventing anyone from accessing your data.
VPNs are offered by online security companies and can be purchased or downloaded for free. Once you have downloaded a VPN, you are able to connect to a remote internet server in a different country, effectively masking your identity whilst online.
It is important to note that not all VPNs are created equal; you should be sure to do your research and only sign up to a credible provider who has your privacy and security at the forefront of their concerns.
The Risks of Online Gaming
Gaming is one of the world’s most popular online pursuits, and with good reason. It’s a fun, interactive and social hobby that has seen increased numbers of participants as the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic unfolded. With more of us spending time at home, gaming has become an excellent way to pass the time and stay in contact with friends.
However it’s not all good news. Hackers and cybercriminals routinely target online accounts of gamers and streamers — those who broadcast their gameplay to friends and fans. Recent research has suggested that there has been upward of 10 billion cyber attacks on the gaming industry in the last 10 years.
The risks are particularly heightened for younger players, who do not understand that not everyone in the online world wants to be their friend. Children may be tempted by promises of upgrades to weapons, armour and gameplay in exchange for credit card details.
Children are also at risk of coming into contact with trolls and becoming victims of online bullying, particularly if they are playing whilst unsupervised by their parents.
Scammers and hackers frequently launch phishing attacks on unsuspecting gamers. You may receive an email or text message that looks legitimate and includes a link claiming to lead to free upgrades or rewards. Entering your personal information and credit card details will likely lead to your personal information ending up on the dark web, or cybercriminals taking the opportunity to install malware onto your device.
Data security is another well established concern of the online gaming world. To create an account for an online game usually requires your personal details — name, date of birth, address and contact details. If a game does not have a secure server, your information risks being intercepted by cybercriminals.
VPN and Gaming — a Perfect Match
To provide the most secure online experience possible, you should be using a VPN every time you log onto the internet. This is particularly true of gaming, where the risks are varied and numerous.
Using a VPN whilst gaming blocks your IP address, making it impossible for cybercriminals to discover your location. A credible VPN will have additional safety features which work to prevent malware attacks, should you accidentally click on a suspicious link.
A VPN can not only offer security advantages, but can actually enhance your gameplay experience. Internet service providers often try to throttle internet connections, which can slow down your network speed. A VPN prevents this from occurring, allowing you to enjoy fast-paced gameplay and download rates.
Online gaming is a fantastic way for you to unwind and stay connected with friends. Ensure you are doing everything you can to stay safe whilst online by installing a VPN and using it every time you play.
Bridget is a writer and editor, currently living in Melbourne. She is a copywriter for Newpath Web and loves working with words of all shapes and sizes. When not playing around with punctuation and grammar, she enjoys travelling and curating her Spotify playlists.
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