Gaming consoles are generally secure – at least at a hardware level. When it comes to the Internet, the console doesn’t have much control over the security of your data. Hackers can abuse poor security to steal your data, they can DDoS you, or toxic players can bully you until you stop playing a game.
The good news is you can secure your console using different tips. Do that, and you’ll be free of annoying harassment and cyber attacks. We’ll show you exactly what measures you should take in this brief article.
The Best 5 Ways to Secure Your Gaming Console
Based on our research and tests, these are the best methods to secure your data while using a gaming console:
1. Avoid Phishing Attacks
Scammers love using phishing attacks to steal your accounts (and more!). They could email you saying you might win a new console if you download and use an attached file (which is nothing but malware). Or they might claim they represent the console’s support team, and they need access to your account to fix some issues.
Whatever the scam, if you fall for it, this is what will happen:
- The scammer will take over your account and delete or sell it.
- The scammer will steal sensitive information from your account – like payment data, email addresses, and street addresses.
- If the cybercriminal gets their hands on your data, they might commit identity theft, or they might use it in other scams.
- The scammers might use your account to send phishing messages to other people (friends and family), essentially infecting their devices with malware.
To avoid these kinds of things, you should never forget that your console provider, the company of the game you’re playing, or any other legitimate source will never email you to ask for personal data (like login credentials). Also, check the sender’s address to see if it’s legit – Sony definitely won’t email you from an address like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if the messages you receive feel threatening and aggressive, as if they’re trying to rush you into making a decision, they’re likely a scam.
2. Use a VPN
VPNs are excellent security tools – they encrypt your traffic end-to-end, meaning nobody can spy on it. If they try to, they’ll only see gibberish. So crafty hackers can’t exploit WiFi vulnerabilities anymore (like the KRACK attack) to compromise your traffic and steal your data. Also, traffic encryption stops hackers from successfully targeting you with MITM attacks that redirect your connections to phishing sites.
And that’s not all – VPNs hide your IP address. They send your traffic through a VPN server that hides it. It will just look as if you’re going online using the VPN’s IP address to the entire Internet. That offers better privacy as cybercriminals can’t track your digital footprints and use your IP address to learn where you’re from (country, city, ZIP code, internet service provider).
What’s more, by hiding your IP address, VPNs keep you safe from DDoS attacks (cyber attacks that overwhelm your network and force it offline). DDoS-ing is actually pretty common in video games – with upset players DDoS-ing others simply for feeling “disrespected.” Well, because a VPN hides your IP address, hackers can’t use it to find and DDoS your network anymore.
How to Use a VPN on Your Gaming Console
Unfortunately, VPN apps don’t natively work on gaming consoles. To use them, you have to either share your VPN connection to your console or use a VPN on your router. Using the VPN on your router is better because you get slightly faster speeds than you do with shared connections.
Setting up a VPN on your router isn’t easy, but most top VPNs have step-by-step guides that show you everything you need to do.
3. Use a Strong Password
Weak passwords are easily cracked, so you need to make sure you’re using a compelling one. To do that, you should make sure it’s over 10-12 characters, it uses lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special symbols, and it’s not a dictionary word or obvious substitution (like $oul instead of the soul).
One easy way to come up with a strong password is to just come up with a long sentence and use the first letter of each word/number to create your password. For example, take this phrase:
Me and my brother David like to visit Switzerland every 2 years in August.
The password derived from that phrase would be MambDltvSe2yiA.
Alternatively, if you’re in a hurry, you can just use a random password generator. Reviewsed.com has a very good one.
4. Change Your Console’s Privacy Settings
There are lots of security settings you should change to enjoy more privacy on your console:
- Cross-platform harassment is a real problem, so don’t display your full name on your profile (hackers can use it to track down your social media accounts).
- If toxic players are targeting you with hate speech and harassment, make sure you block them.
- It’s best not to display your online status and make the games you’re playing public. Toxic players will have less information about you that way.
- If you want a bit more privacy, try to limit the amount of data the gaming console’s company collects about you.
5. Use a Router Antivirus
Hackers often target people with malware. We recommend setting up an antivirus on your router to keep all your devices safe from such attacks.
Just make sure you always update the software. Otherwise, it might not be able to keep up with new strains of malware.
IMPORTANT: VPNs can’t protect you from malware infections. Just because you’re using a VPN doesn’t mean you’re safe from malicious code. Always use an antivirus together with it.
What’s Your Favorite Way to Make Your Gaming Console Secure?
Would you please tell us which methods you use to enjoy peace of mind when playing online games? If you use any specific online tools, don’t forget to mention their names and tell us their pros and cons.