I remember asking my mother if flying was safe when I was much younger. Her response was based on some well known study that compared airplane travel fatalities to bus travel fatalities that apparently every parent knew at the time. “Flying in an airplane is much safer than riding a bus”, she said. Now that study, if it actually does exist, is ripe with logical holes and is based on way too many independent variables to even mention but one thing stood out to me as a kid and that is we are never truly completely safe. It really is a question of mitigating your vulnerability. Invulnerability does not exist in the new digital age.
Online security is one of the biggest industries to come out of the internet era and that is based on the fact that almost every site from eCommerce giants to gaming start ups want to get to know you. They do this for two reasons, one to learn how to market to you more effectively and the other to take your money. Let’s face it you can’t take your jar of money out from beneath your mattress and take it down to your local neighborhood eCommerce store, you just can’t so it is time to mitigate.
First the basic science (which I don’t profess to fully understand) in hopefully a simplistic way. Both of the major gaming consoles and their accompanying online retail stores utilize encryption technology. Perhaps not every piece of personal info is protected but your credit card information is. Each uses a variation of 128-bit encryption that is similar to the encryption used by most of the big online retail stores. Basically this means if you have bought a lovely Christmas sweater online with confidence you can buy a game, movie or add on through your gaming console.
According to securityweek.com some consoles utilize Transport Layer Security or TLS which in effect makes your online gaming messages almost unhackable by a random tech wiz in his mother’s basement. The Government on the other hand can if they really wanted to so act accordingly.
One of the two most popular consoles uses security measures to protect your personal data that includes a simple two step verification process that gives hackers nightmares. A verification question as simple as “What color is your cat?” believe it or not makes a huge difference. The other does not so do your homework if security is a concern for you.
So, safe is as subjective in gaming as it is in life. According to CNN.com we should be more concerned with our online banking safety as several of the major banks are using second class security measures. Use your commonsense. If you are uncomfortable putting your credit card online, buy a prepaid gaming card. Always change your password at least once a month. Do not use your real name in chat and never give out personal info. Just generally, be smart and mitigate your risk.
Stay safe and stay gaming and go ahead and take that flight!
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