The internet can be a dangerous place. Identify theft is a serious issue that can affect just about anyone online. Gamers and those who use internet services like streaming regularly are more vulnerable. Those who have a strong online presence on social media or run a business online are also at serious risk. Videogame streaming has become a popular and lucrative activity for many gamers. Some have even chosen to build their entire business and job around the activity. Identity protection is extremely important for anyone online and especially for those who stream either casually or professionally. Below are some things to think about if you’re a streamer or are looking to become one.
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Online Documents and Finding What’s Out There
It’s important to avoid doxxing. This is when someone steals important personal documents or records from your online profile and then distributes that information, threatens to distribute it or uses it to harm you in some way. Email account login information, home addresses and phone numbers are the most likely things to be stolen, and it is surprisingly easy to get most of this information. A person does not have to be a professional hacker or computer genius.
Most streaming services like Twitch are secure as long as they are used properly. More often, the information comes from other sources. There are many websites out there that collect and share this personal information. Most of the time, it is all legal, but the only way to be sure is to check the sites independently and request that they take down the information.
These sites sometimes maintain very old records and things that even the person they are about has forgotten. This can be old login information to various websites and services. Even if the information isn’t used, it can still present a backdoor security risk.
Be Mindful of What People See
Streaming is fun and can be done from home. Most people just use a web camera and microphone. Professionals usually have a space dedicated to streaming, and they carefully control the background and what people see. If you are streaming live and allowing people to see your face and your physical environment, be sure you are controlling what they see. Personally identifying information or documents shouldn’t be visible on your stream. Make sure your camera is pointed at a blank wall or some creative background that you have made for the stream. Nothing personal, such as family photos or similar identifiers, should be visible. It is also a good idea to make sure a window isn’t visible.
People looking to steal your identity can cull important identifying details from seemingly unimportant things in your personal environment. This allows them to figure out a way to pretend to be you more convincingly and may ultimately give them access to more important and damaging information.
Create an Independent Gaming-Only Online Profile
Your streaming and gamer identity should be wholly independent of your real-life, personal identity. This means you shouldn’t use your real name, phone number, address or any similar information on your streaming profile. If you want subscribers or fans to be able to contact you by mail, get a PO Box.
This rule applies to your entire online presence. You should have a separate Facebook, Twitter, email and whatever else that is only for your gamer profile. It should not connect in any way to your regular personal accounts. Facebook is an identity theft treasure trove for those looking to glean personal details they can use to assume your identity or conduct other unsavory activities. You also never want people to have access to your personal or primary email. This email is often used for things like password recovery and important personal and legal documents. An email hack may seem small, but it is actually one of the most dangerous types of hacks you can suffer.
Passwords and Privacy Settings
A lot of people overlook or rush through the most basic security steps, which can provide a great deal of protection. Your password should always be strong and hard for the average person to guess. Use a combination of letters and numbers that is not obvious, and is also not obviously personal. Don’t use your own birthday, for example. Instead, use your favorite cousin’s or your dog’s or something that a person who already has some of your information won’t be able to guess. Always double check your privacy settings and set them as high as possible. Most online services and social media don’t automatically set privacy settings to max. You must take the time to do it manually.
If you’re interested in learning more about video game streaming, visit a site like VideoGameBroadcasts.com. This is a fun and possibly profitable hobby, and by being careful and smart with your online presence, you can reap all the benefits of streaming and online gaming without exposing yourself to undue risks. It is almost impossible to be 100 percent secure online, but the steps outlined here will go a long way to keeping you protected from most threats.
By Dixie Somers