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You play games to relax and stimulate your mind while engaging with adversaries in virtual worlds. Sadly, there are foes for gamers to contend with within the real world too. Threat actors like trolls, hackers, pranksters, and cybercriminals target gamers with doxing and swatting. So, how do you protect yourself, and what do those terms mean?
What is doxing?
Doxing is when a threat actor publishes your confidential information on the Internet. Usually, people dox others out of envy, anger, revenge, or for cheap thrills. Victims of doxing may deal with harassment, physical threats, shame, anxiety, and stress.
What is swatting?
Swatting is when a prankster calls the emergency line to make a false report against you, triggering a heavily armed response from the police. It’s called swatting because a SWAT team usually shows up at a victim’s door. Swatting victims include celebrities, journalists, news organizations, and gamers on Twitch streams. Although swatting often ends without incident, in some cases, it results in tragic death.
How do people dox and swat gamers?
Doxing and swatting are common problems in the gaming community. Threat actors can use any of the following tools and techniques to uncover your sensitive information and use it against you:
Spyware is a piece of malicious software that threat actors deploy to steal your passwords, pictures, videos, and addresses. You can get a spyware infection from websites, pirated games, and unsafe emails. Learn how to remove spyware and other privacy-invading malware like Gamer Trojans to shield your data.
2. Phishing Expeditions
A phishing expedition is when hackers use phishing attacks like fraudulent emails, text messages, social media messages, and voice mail to trick you into providing your address and other confidential information. Some phishing attacks may also deploy spyware or lead you to websites that log your address.
3. Social Engineering
Trolls are using sophisticated methods like social engineering nowadays to deceive gamers. They may create fake identities to befriend you on gaming platforms and mislead you into sharing your address after gaining your confidence. For example, a fake online friend could ask for your address in order to send you a gift.
4. Video Streams
Please remove any personally identifiable information from the background when streaming your video games on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook. For example, a threat actor can zoom in on an envelope on your desk to read your address. Likewise, they may learn your high school’s name from your Yearbook to investigate further.
5. IP Address
Although your IP address won’t give a threat actor your exact location, it will help them on their quest to uncover your physical address. Use a technologically advanced VPN for gamers to mask your IP address and encrypt your data while maintaining top download and upload speeds.
6. Weak Passwords
Hackers can use software to guess weak passwords and break into your email or social media accounts. Information harvested from your accounts may help them pinpoint your location. That’s why you should make it a habit to use long and complex passwords. In addition, activate two-factor authentication on Twitch and other platforms for enhanced account security.
7. Social Media Information
Anything you post on social media pages, message boards, and Discord channels can help hackers dox you. Be careful about what you share and restrict audiences. Likewise, screen friend requests to avoid hackers with fake Facebook accounts.
Although threat actors can use various strategies and tools to steal your confidential information, you can use your own strategies and defense mechanisms to win the game of security and privacy.