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How Can Online Gamers Secure their Privacy while Gaming

PC gaming is an ocean of gaming experience and surpasses all other platforms as you can easily upgrade your system. However, with the increase in online gaming, it is extremely important to take care of your cybersecurity.

One of the most popular games out there, Assassin’s Creed faced a huge DDoS attack on its launch, the last thing any rising company would want. For a company like Ubisoft, this is a big-time hit on the game’s reputation even before it had a chance to make one.

This also had a massive effect on their other games Rainbow Six, Siege and For Honor.

Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV game was also attacked that year.

Link11 is a global expert in DDoS protection and mitigation, it tweeted


Security expert Tom Byrnes says, "Taking something down on the web is garden variety vandalism," Byrnes said. "They aren't doing anything new ... someone has a botnet and they are just pounding on Twitter and Facebook."

 

Solution - How to Secure Privacy

Now that you know the risks associated with online gaming, here’s how players can protect themselves:

 

Protecting yourself from DDoS

DDoS is a sophisticated form of a cybersecurity attack that requires serious protective measures. There are companies that specialize in DDoS mitigation such as Cloudflare and an effective solution strategy involves hiring the services of these specialist companies.

However, these solutions can be quite cost-prohibitive for small game devs and even more so for gamers.

Clearly, there is a need for some cost-effective solutions that individual gamers can implement to give themselves a better chance of avoiding becoming a possible victim of DDoS.

Here are a couple of things you can do about it:

 

Improving your System Security in General

Most DDoS start as malware infections that start from malicious email attachments and web links. Security vulnerabilities and lack of defenses in your computer easily expose you to all kinds of infections, some of which may lead to a DDoS attack.

The attack might target you as a gamer or use you as a bot to flood your ISP or game devs servers until it gives in to the immense volume of requests from the botnet.

In either case, you should make sure that your computer has the right protection and are not opening yourself up to the exploits of hackers. For instance, these simple Windows security essentials can go a long way in enhancing your basic security.

 

Using Consumer-Grade VPNs

For every DDoS attack, there is one essential requirement: the knowledge of your real IP address. If your gaming competitor knows your IP address, it might be well within his power to launch a DDoS on you and ruin your game, provided he hates you enough for it.

The most obvious countermeasure to steering clear of DDoS attacks is to hide your IP address and the most effective way to change your IP is to use a service.

Even if you are using a Mac, it doesn’t mean you’re immune to malware, spoofing, and other vulnerabilities, that why a VPN for Mac is recommended

A VPN encrypts your traffic and tunnels it through secure protocols. Think of it like a middle point that acts on your behalf when you need to communicate to the rest of the web.

Since you are connected to the internet through a VPN server rather than directly to the destination server, all third parties will only be seeing your VPN’s IP address and not your actual IP.

If someone tries to DDoS you using your VPN IP address, they will only be targeting the VPN server, leaving you unharmed.

This is how VPNs shield you from DDoS by masking your real IP address, diverting a possible attack away from you.

But there’s one little problem:

VPNs also slow down your internet connection and increase latency.

This is just a natural result of the fact that a VPN introduces an extra step that your data packets have to travel through before they reach their destination.

So, is a protective solution worth it if it ruins your online gaming experience with frequent lags caused by high latency?

There’s a way around this problem. Some VPNs use a feature called “split-tunneling”. This basically allows you to separate your gaming traffic and your normal internet traffic.

So for instance, you can force all inbound and outbound traffic in your computer to move through the VPN tunnel (and keep your IP address masked), but keep your gaming traffic moving through the regular internet untouched by the VPN.

This approach keeps your IP address hidden from the view of outsiders without affecting your gaming latency because it is connected directly connected to the internet without any VPN stage in the middle.

You can get the better-known VPN services for less than $7/month if you go for a year-long subscription that most providers offer.

In my opinion, this is the most cost-effective DDoS mitigation action gamers can take.

 

DDoS mitigation strategies for small/indie developers

For developers, the strategies needed to ward off DDoS attempts are more involved and costly.

A simple consumer-grade VPN probably won’t work and support the high bandwidth requirements that developers need to serve to support smooth online gameplay.

A corporate-grade VPN, however, can be one of the measures that form the broader mitigation strategy of game developers. But other than that, developers should consider:

 

A Couple of Backup Servers

In the event that a gaming server does fall prey to a DDoS attack, having a few backup servers can help avoid interruptions of service.

Such interruptions not only lead to massive annoyance to gamers but can be seriously costly for developers.

A backup server enables allows developers to continue providing service to clients while the affected servers can be cured of the problem.

Normally, it shouldn’t take too long for the broken down servers to come back online and start serving users again.

 

A Cascade of Firewalls

Multiple firewalls working together can give a good boost to the overall security of your servers. Firewalls can sift genuine traffic from malicious botnet-generated traffic, which is essential for halting a DDoS attack in its tracks before it can wreak havoc.

 

Conclusion

DDoS attacks are a pain in the neck for gamers and game developers alike. The costs of a successful attack can be great, and solutions aren’t exactly cost-effective either.

But gamers shouldn’t really go towards the more expensive solutions, as disaster can be averted in many cases with smart use of VPNs and ensuring overall computer security.

Unless you’re really unlucky, of course. Unfortunately then, there is no hope. The gaming industry has evolved so much that it can no longer be compared to your childhood games such as Tetris and Super Mario.

There are literally gaming professionals these days, who compete for million dollar prizes and stadiums that cater to such events. In fact, some of the gamers are really popular and have a solid fan base. Developing games these days cost as much as making a Hollywood movie.

The future of the gaming industry seems to be even brighter as different technologies such as VR and Kinect have emerged, more is to come.

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