The dark web — it’s a spooky sounding name for a spooky sounding place. The dark web is a section of the internet that is not accessible to standard search engines. Websites are not ranked and indexed the same way they are on the surface web and users are required to download an anonymous portal known as Tor browser in order to reach the platform.
People often assume that the descriptor ‘dark’ means that this part of the internet is home to illegal, criminal behavior. Many people who were previously oblivious to there even being different sections of the internet wonder, is the dark web illegal?
The dark web is certainly not a place for just hanging out. Visiting the dark web is technically legal, but you should be aware that all sorts of illegal activities take place there, including the exchange of stolen personal information and data.
Anyone who shares personal information online — be it your name, date of birth, address, or credit card details — risks having their details stolen and posted on dark web forums. This is why the platform poses such a threat to online gamers.
Gaming and data theft
In early 2021, more than 500,000 employees from the world’s top gaming companies had their professional login credentials stolen and posted on the dark web for sale. These credentials provided access to project management files, virtual private servers (VPNs), and development-related software.
In a worst-case scenario, credentials could have been used to access customer databases, providing access to millions of individuals’ personal information.
This situation highlighted a persistent problem facing the online gaming community. The amount of information that must be provided to sign up to a gaming platform, including your name, age, location, and credit card details, means that gamers are prime targets for having their data stolen and sold.
Gamers are being encouraged to seriously consider the ways in which they protect their own online privacy. This can include using 2 factor-authentication for all accounts, signing up for a VPN, and investing in dark web monitoring.
What is dark web monitoring?
Once information is on the dark web, it’s practically impossible to have it removed. However, internet security companies have come up with a solution via a product known as dark web monitoring.
Victims of a data breach often don’t realize that their information has been stolen until it’s far too late. Companies in most countries have a legal obligation to report data theft. However, the strategies and stealth ability of hackers are improving, to the point where it can be years before a company realizes they have suffered a security breach.
Dark web monitoring enables dark websites to be scanned for personal information. If your name, contact details, financial credentials, or any other type of personal information is found on the dark web, you will be alerted and can take appropriate steps to lessen the damage. This typically involves changing the login details to all your online accounts, applying for new credit cards, and investing in credit monitoring.
Gamers — protect your personal information online!
Deep in combat with your biggest enemy, the last thing you want to be thinking about is data security. Unfortunately, data theft is a reality faced by many gamers. Try these strategies to protect yourself from online criminals, so you can go back to concentrating on your next big battle.
- Use strong passwords
Each one of your online accounts should have a different password, and they all should be generated using a combination of uppercase letters, lower case letters, numbers, and characters. If you find it difficult to remember all your passwords, consider using a password manager.
2. Install a VPN
A VPN — or virtual private network — is an essential, added layer of security. A VPN protects your location and data from prying eyes by providing an encrypted connection for you to browse and play on. As a bonus, a VPN can also be a workaround for geo-blocking laws, meaning you may be able to access added gaming content and servers.
3. Invest in gaming security software
Gamers face unprecedented threats to their privacy and online security. No gamer should be without security software that provides protection against viruses, malware, DDoS attacks, doxing, data theft, and phishing.
Dark web monitoring can alert you if your information is on the dark web but by then, it’s often too late. Be proactive in your gaming security practices so that you can shoot, scavenge, and score without risk to your privacy.