Love MMOs? Then You Need to Read This – MMOs can be a massive time and money investment, albeit a fun one. However, that can all be gone in a split second if you’re not careful about your account security. Well, aside from memories you’ve made along the way – those you’ll keep forever.
Cheesy tropes aside, here are some of the best tips for staying secure online and preventing your MMO account(s) from falling into the wrong hands.
#1 Create Strong, Unique Passwords
You’d think this would be common sense by now, but studies show that more than half of all people reuse the same passwords for multiple accounts. A smaller portion does so for all their accounts, which is just asking for trouble.
We get it – not having to memorize so many distinct passwords is super convenient. However, it won’t feel that way when a hacker steals your account, email, and other logins because they share the same password.
Can’t be bothered to memorize or keep a million different codes in a notebook? Try a password manager instead. They can create, store, and paste strong passwords in your games, browser, and other apps. Moreover, they’re an effective tool against phishing scams – fake websites that look legit but are actually built to steal your account details.
Say you get a phishing email that asks you to “update your account information”, with a link that takes you to ‘batttle.net’ instead of battle.net. The website may look exactly like the real deal, aside from the domain name. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about it, as the password manager simply won’t fill the password in.
#2 Use Separate Emails for Each Game
Getting hacked is no one’s idea of a good time. If the cyber attacker also gets a hold of your email account, that can be even more disastrous. Use a separate email for each MMO account and you reduce the amount of damage in the event your account is compromised.
Don’t sign up to any newsletters with your unique email, either. The MMO devs might offer some irresistible freebies, but it’s highly likely they’ll share your email with other companies as well. That just creates more opportunities to have your account exposed in data breaches.
Free encrypted services like ProtonMail or Tutanota can provide you with a secure email without having to input your phone number or other proof of identity. This leads us to our next point, which is to try to minimize how much info about yourself you put online.
#3 Minimize How Much Personal Info You Share
As mentioned, the more services have your data, the more likely it is to fall victim to a data breach. Just take a look at the recent Twitch hack, which affected an estimated 51 million users. Or the Razer leak from last year, which revealed the email addresses and phone numbers for over 100,000 gamers. Of course, these mass scale events are not the only way your data could be put at risk.
Even sharing personal details with your online friends and guild mates can be a danger in itself. Hackers can use your name, place or date of birth, where you live, and similar info to doxx you. Alternatively, they could use the same info to guess the answers to your account security questions.
If a stranger seems to be asking you weirdly specific questions under the guise of “being friendly”, ignore or block them. Also, never share private details in public channels.
What if you really enjoyed playing with someone and want to get to know them better? Then it’s better to just exchange Discords (or other means of contacting each other) through DMs. After all, there’s no need for any onlookers to get involved in your personal matters.
#4 Take Advantage of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Having to use an extra app just to input an additional security code may seem like a pain. And to be perfectly honest, it kind of is. However, we can all agree that it’s less of a hassle than having to:
- Contact support to recover your account
- Change your email password, or
- Reset all of your other passwords if you didn’t use a separate email for your MMO account
Square Enix has both software and hardware tokens for logging into Final Fantasy XIV securely. And despite being mired in controversy at the moment, at least Blizzard still provides the Battle.net Authenticator for World of Warcraft and other Battle.net games. They even give you a cute pet for enabling the extra security step.
Meanwhile, games like Destiny 2 don’t have a built-in 2FA system. Instead, you’ll need to activate one separately on your PlayStation, Xbox, Google Stadia, or Steam. We recommend doing so anyway, even if you tend to focus on single-player games most of the time. Adding 2FA to your email account(s) is a good idea as well.
#5 Watch Out on Public Wi-Fi
Raid night with the guildies happening while you’re away? No problem; you’ll just bring your laptop along and use the free hotel Wi-Fi, right? Don’t be so hasty about playing on unsecured networks, though, as they’re prime targets for hackers. If you really need to be there with your mates when you first down Illidan in Burning Crusade Classic, then we recommend using a VPN.
VPNs encrypt your data to protect it from hackers. If you haven’t played any cyberpunk games, encryption basically involves scrambling your network traffic so it becomes unreadable by eavesdroppers. Even if the hotel hotspot is compromised by a rogue employee, or you fall for a so-called “Evil Twin” attack, your emails, passwords, and logins will remain safe and sound.
You can also do other cool stuff with a VPN, such as unblocking Netflix libraries from abroad, or regional streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer. Plus you can avoid firewall filters at work or at school and sneak in a few dailies when no one’s looking. You didn’t hear it from us, though.