For many years, video games were considered a male dominated arena. The Entertainment Software Association reports that women gamers now make up 45 percent of the gaming public. Despite that, many women encounter cyberbullying and harassment when they participate in online games, such as multiplayer matches on popular FPS on consoles or MMORPGs on the computer. The emotional trauma associated with severe levels of cyberbullying may have long term effects, but one aspect of online bullying that is often overlooked is doxxing and identity theft. Doxxing is a term that refers to using various methods to find out personal data, such as searching for someone’s email and usernames. It also leads to identity theft if you have enough information available online. The Daily Beast reports on celebrities who suffered from doxxing, with information such as Michelle Obama’s social security number and Ashton Kutcher’s phone number floating around. It’s essential to protect your personal information against even the angriest of script kiddies and Internet trolls that you encounter in the wildest of the online gaming world.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team recommends looking into how secure a particular gaming service is when you’re using it. Database vulnerabilities open up your personal information, email, and potentially credit card information to hackers and trolls adept at doxxing methods. Look for HTTPS connections when you enter payment information for online games that use microtransactions or monthly payments. Pay attention to gaming news, as the companies will let you know if there’s been a breach in their security.
Withholding Personally Identifying Information
No matter how awesome the person you met in your last League of Legends match sounds, take a long time before giving any personally identifying information. Your email address, phone number, real name, and physical address are all highly sensitive pieces of information. With Google tying in everything to your Google+ profile, just giving out your email can open you up to having your real name out there.
Using Identity Protection Services
If you fear that your identity was stolen through an online gaming service, setting up a Lifelock profile or researching other identity protection services gives you a method for responding to the situation. These services monitor your credit report for changes, send you alerts if someone uses your personal information on applications, and monitors your current mailing address so savvy thieves can’t put in a change of address form. They’ll even check personal information-sharing websites so you know if your information is getting passed around and sold.
Safe Email Usage
You see an email in your inbox that talks about your online gaming account being hacked, or another issue. It looks official, and even comes from the right email address. It instructs you to click a link within the email to log in. Online gaming services, such as Blizzard, warn about these types of phishing emails, according to Us.Battle.net. They recommend double checking any links you click within an email before clicking, and to never share personal account information in email replies. It’s important to check the URL within an email as phishing thieves often make the fake landing page look as official as possible to steal your login information. If you have a stored payment option on your account, this also gives them some access to your credit card. Go directly to the official website whenever you need to login, and inform them of phishing emails.