Is privacy important? It certainly is! Especially online, where it can be very easy for hackers, identity thieves, or other non-friendlies to steal information.
At Game-U LIVE, we have some recommendations for how to protect your privacy online.
Never Share Personally Identifying Information in a Public Forum
Whether it's a YouTube live chat, a Discord server, a multiplayer game's team chat, a Facebook group, or a Snapchat user - keep all your important personal information secret. Personally identifying information (PII) is information that can identify you, as an individual. Here's a good list of things that are better not to share online if there is the possibility that someone in the audience is not someone you know personally:
- Your full name
- Your address
- Your phone number
- Social security number
- School name
- Credit card number
- Bank account credentials
Use Strong Passwords
Nobody wants to be hacked! Help protect against hackers by using strong passwords that you change regularly. You'd be surprised at how human nature makes it easy to hack passwords! Pick a strong password and change it regularly.
What makes a strong password? Usually, you want a password that is 16-18 characters, includes upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Better still - make that string of characters random! It's not hard for hackers to use programs that can try many different password combinations until they find yours. The longer your password, the more character types it uses, the harder it is to crack!
Update Your Browser and Software Regularly
You know those software updates you've been putting off? Or how your browser keeps reminding you that you need to update it? Usually, these updates are for security. Hackers are finding ways to breach software (like your browser) all the time. Companies and organizations publish patches that eliminate the vulnerabilities the hackers exploited. If you're not taking those updates, you're giving hackers an easy way into your computer.
Sign Out of Your Accounts
Especially if you're on a public computer, leaving an account signed in is an easy way to let others access your private information. Worse, if you've got multiple tabs open and multiple accounts signed in, it's easier for cross-site scripting attacks to happen. Cross-site scripting attacks exploit information elsewhere on your browser (like your Discord password or your real name on your school's website) when you visit an unfriendly site.
Remember to sign out of all your accounts when you finish using them!
Check Before You Click
See a link in an email that you want to click? Looking to download what looks like a cool piece of software? Found a meme you want to save? Check first!
Hackers can hide malicious code in links, emails, attachments, downloads, images, and more. By clicking the link, downloading the software, or opening the attachment, you can infect your machine and expose your information to risk. Open or click only items from trustworthy sources. If something doesn't look right, trust your instincts - check before you click! Make sure the source is genuine.
The Internet is an amazing place, and there is so much out there to learn and to do. But, be careful. Protect your identity!