Viruses, Trojans, and Identity Theft: 3 Risks to Your Online Security and Privacy While Playing Online Games


Online gaming and privacyApproximately 700 million people around the world play online games, reports Spil Cloud. An audience that large expands your social opportunities online, but it also opens you up to privacy and security concerns. Identity theft, viruses, and phishing are all dangers to be aware of. Stay on your toes to avoid any major issues that interfere with your gaming enjoyment.

Viruses and Trojans

Gamers faced 11.7 million attacks from viruses, trojans, and other forms of malware, reports Kaspersky Lab. Gamers are valuable targets to cyber attackers since account information, rare or valuable virtual items, and access to other sensitive information, such as attached credit cards, can be gained.

Only download games from trusted sites and look for security certificates and other trust markers to ensure that you get a legitimate copy. If you suspect you were infected by a virus, take your computer off the network and run a virus scan. You may also have to run specialty tools such as malware scanners to remove toolbars and other less malicious, but still problematic additions to your computer. Schedule your virus scanner to run on a regular basis after the initial threat has passed, so you always have protection against the latest viruses designed to launch a cyber attack.

Identity Theft

Many online games provide chat functions to talk with other players. If you share the wrong information, an accomplished thief can track down the vital pieces of information they need to use your identity to open accounts under your name. Limit the amount of personal information you provide to anyone online.

If you have children who play online games, teach them to not share this type of information with online strangers or use parental controls to restrict access to chat functionality.


Phishers target popular online games. They send emails that may look official, referencing a problem with your account, a ban, or another alarming message designed to make you click a link within the email or respond to the email with your account information. If you click the link, it takes you to a hoax site with a login form that captures your username and password, compromising your account.

Change your account information immediately if this occurs, and send the phishing email to the game developer’s abuse department. In addition, always go to the official website directly instead of clicking links within your email to ensure you’re directed to the correct place.

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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.

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