Hackers never seem to take a rest. Since the pandemic spread worldwide early last year, cyberattacks have increased drastically around the world. Gamers are some of the most targeted Internet users according to multiple studies.
Attackers target PC gamers more, and this should be expected. Consoles have fewer vulnerabilities but that doesn’t mean they are hack-proof. They’re every bit prone to security threats as their PC and mobile gaming counterparts.
In light of that information, we’ve prepared a guide to help you stay safe while using your PS4 online. Intrigued? Let’s get into it.
1—Use a Strong Password
Cybercriminals have been targeting PlayStation Network accounts for years. Getting your account hacked is not a fun experience. From losing your privacy to unauthorized transactions, a hack basically expels you from the PlayStation network with nothing.
Sony regularly provides guides on how to recover hacked accounts. But don’t wait to lose your account to create a strong password. Change your current password to something long and unique. Use numbers, letters, characters—anything that increases your account security is welcome.
In many cases, cybercriminals target PlayStation networks with the weakest passwords. But is anyone surprised? Attackers can’t spend hours breaking into your account when there’s an account they can break in a couple of minutes.
2—Secure your Router with a VPN
DDoS attacks, swatting, phishing—these are all risks that come with being an online gamer. Many of them start when an attacker identifies your IP address. A VPN for PS4 can help mask your IP address from DDoSers, swatters and phishers.
What’s more, it can encrypt your data and tunnel it around the Internet safely. That way, not only does it become difficult to attack you but potential attackers can’t intercept or decrypt your data. This can be beneficial in numerous ways.
For example, you become immune to bandwidth throttling. ISP providers are notorious for gagging gamers’ bandwidth. Masking your IP address also increases your privacy. And since when is that ever a bad thing?
To be clear, you can use a VPN to hide your IP address on multiple devices. There’s a VPN for Mac and Windows. And you can use the same account on your android or iOS device. However, installing a VPN on your router offers more protection because it protects all the devices that use your home router.
3—Install an Antivirus Program
Whether you connect your PS4 to a desktop monitor or TV, you need to access the Internet to play your games online. That means you’re vulnerable to security threats like viruses, malware, ransomware and phishing scams.
The solution for these problems is a reliable antimalware program. Look for a program that protects you in real-time. Also, ensure it protects you against a comprehensive list of threats and not just a couple of them. For example, it should detect and block malware. Additionally, it should stop DDoS attacks, phishing messages, brute force and spamming.
That said, there are more features to look out for in an antivirus. For example, does it come with automatic updates? Does it protect multiple devices? Also, ensure it’s affordable, or at least it gives you great value for your money.
Two-step verification or Two-Factor Authentication is a must-use process if you want to secure your online PS4 account. It’s a straightforward process. Log into your PlayStation network and go to ‘Account Management.’
Then scroll to find 2-step verification and select ‘Edit.’ Click ‘Activate’ and continue. Choose how to enable 2-FA—you can use a text message, or an authenticator app. A text message is easier if you carry your phone around. By comparison, an app is better if you plan to enable 2-FA on other websites.
Either way, you’ll get a text message to verify your cell phone number. Or you’ll be directed to open your authenticator app and after that scan a code. After this verification process, you’ll be required to enter a verification code in addition to entering your password before you get access to your account.
The main benefit of 2FA is that it adds a layer of security. Hackers can’t get into your account by merely guessing your password. They’ll need to enter a code, which unless they get your phone too, can’t provide.
5—Get Games from the Official PS4 Website
No matter what Sony does to protect its games, there will always be ways for gamers to get free cracked games. These titles can be tempting to acquire because it’s not always you’ll have the money to buy a game you want.
The problem: free games come at a cost. Some of them are the products of attackers who trick you to download a file you might think is a game. But after installation, it reveals a can of worms, viruses and other apps that could harm your TV or monitor.
An antimalware program can offer protection from malware in the form of free games. But they’re not always effective. That’s why it’s essential to protect yourself by buying games from the official PS4 website only.
6—Don’t Share Personal Information on Forums
Online gaming wouldn’t be the same without forums. They provide a place for gamers to enlighten one another about games, make friends and share memes. What’s more, people organize tournaments and event real-world events through forums.
Unfortunately, not everyone in your PlayStation network forums means well. Some people are out to find real information they could use to stalk you. Others can want to scam or send you malicious files. So, don’t share personal information about your account, address or anything that could be used to identify you.
7—Logout after a Gaming Session
Logout from your PS4 network account often. This ensures that not even your friends can get into your account without your authorization. It also ensures that no one can identify your sensitive data, make purchase or finish games for you. While at it, try PS4’s facial recognition feature to eliminate all possibilities that anyone else but you can login.