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Cyber security for video game consoles

Just got a new video game console? Here’s how you can keep it cyber secure.

If you’re not a gamer, video game speak can sound like a foreign language, so fair warning: We’ve snuck a few references to some of our favourite games into this article. Whether you get the references or not, the cyber security advice attached to them applies to everyone. If in doubt, reach out to the gamer in your life. Who knows — you might just find yourself with a new hobby.

There’s nothing like the feeling of getting a new console. Prying open the crisp cardboard box. Getting a whiff of that new packaging smell. And peeling that little bit of plastic off the top? Chef’s kiss (😘👌). Whether you landed on the new GreyNation, X-Cube or Crescendo Itch (names have been changed to protect the innocent), the excitement of a new console is a mutual feeling among all gamers.

Gaming consoles are probably the most fun devices you can own, but that doesn’t mean you can take it easy in keeping them secure. Like every internet-connected device you own, your console is susceptible to cyber threats. That’s why we’ve created this walkthrough to help you protect them.

How could my console be affected?

With every new console generation, gaming gets more expensive — and that means your gaming accounts are more valuable to cyber criminals.
They’re not just after your sense of pride and accomplishment, either. Cyber criminals try to steal gaming accounts and the games, achievements and items linked to them (which they can sell for real money online!). Or they could use your credit card information saved in the device to cause even greater financial damage.

Armour up with multi-factor authentication

In games, getting a good armour set means either you are reaching the final levels of the game or you have made some serious in-game purchases. When it comes to your game console, however, armouring up your console with an extra layer of security couldn’t be easier.

All the major video game consoles have multi-factor authentication (MFA) options in their settings menus. MFA provides a layer of protection by requiring that you use more than one way of confirming your identity. Check the security settings on your new system and enable MFA to add an extra layer of security to your console, usually in the form of email or text message verification.

Upgrade your passwords

Using a unique and strong password for each of your gaming accounts is great, but having a unique and strong passphrase is next level. Whether you’re using an account from your old console or opening up a brand new account, consider strengthening it with a passphrase: a combination of four or more random words that’s over 15 characters long.

Look out for phishing scams

Every gamer who was on the internet in 2007 knows that the cake is a lie (!!). But what you might not know is that many of the messages you receive on your gaming platforms are lies too.

Cyber criminals use phishing messages to target and steal gaming accounts. These phishing messages come in all shapes and sizes, including emails pretending to be from the creator of the video game console, alerting you to a fake issue with your account and asking you to log in on a malicious site, or chat messages offering free in-game currency or other giveaways.
If you’re not sure if a message you’ve received is legitimate, take a second to compare it against the 7 Red Flags of Phishing.

Conclusion

Your new video game console will soon have data on it that’s more valuable than you might realise. Before you venture off into the horizon, make sure you take a look at your console’s security settings menu and see how you can make it more cyber safe.

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