How to Game Safely on Your Android Smartphone
Safe Gaming Tips
When it comes to mobile gaming, it’s hard to beat Android’s open-source platform, which allows people to download games from anywhere. This freedom has brought plenty of innovation and creativity to the platform, allowing gamers to enjoy the fruits of developers’ labor. But all of that fun can get spoilt because of major security issues and poor safety practices. Get some tips below on how to get a safer gaming experience on Android.
Android is one of the biggest mobile platforms around and is used all over the world by billions of people. The biggest and only official store for Android games is the Google Play Store, which currently houses over 2.7 million apps.
Yet thanks to this popularity, both the store and Android devices are prime targets for malware and cyberattacks. In 2018, more than half-a-million people downloaded malware in the form of a racing game from the Play Store. And since then there have been plenty more malware-infected apps found on the platform.
Third-party marketplaces aren’t better though, and often have problems of their own. The official app store, although not 100% safe, at least has some security protocols in place. Other marketplaces don’t have the same level of security, and most don’t even screen the games that make it onto their stores.
So what’s a gamer to do when the wolves start circling in? Read some of the tips below.
1. Stick to Downloading From Reliable Sources
Even though the Play Store has its fair share of problems, it’s still safer to download games from there than from unknown sources. Plus, when a game or APK file is installed from anywhere other than the Play Store, then some security features need to be turned off. Security experts agree that this is a bad idea and opens the device up to various risks.
When downloading any new game, take a look at the app permissions because these can be a dead giveaway of dodgy behavior. Don’t allow any permissions that give the app access to features it doesn’t need. Also, make sure that Google Play Protect is on and constantly scanning apps for malware.
2. Be Vigilant About Copycats/Scams
Scammers are always trying new tricks to dupe people into clicking on shady links or downloading infected files. This translates to fake Android apps and games that look almost like the real thing but are designed to steal information once installed.
The hackers could get access to sensitive information stored on the phone via malicious code. Or they could lie in wait until any micro-transactions are made and abscond with credit card details.
Before downloading a game, read the store page description and make sure the developer is legit. If they don’t have a website or page that could identify them, then they might be scammers. Any new game from a small or unknown developer with lots of downloads and rave reviews is also a red flag.
3. Use Security Tools To Protect the Android Device
Network hijacking and DDOS attacks involving mobile devices are becoming more and more common. Almost everyone owns a smartphone now, making these devices prime targets for people who have less than pure intentions. There’s no such thing as a secure phone or network, but there are tools like VPNs that help make them safer.
Find the best VPN for Android by searching around and comparing a few services. No two VPNs are the same and what works for one person might not work as well for another. For one, some VPN services (especially the free ones) can slow down a connection by quite a bit, causing lag. Which can become extremely frustrating with any online game? Try out a few free trials instead, and see which one fits best.
4. Don’t Store Personal Information Online
Games and stores that require credit card information should be treated with caution. Do not save any credit card information anywhere and delete it where necessary. Having to enter credit card details for every purchase is annoying, but it leaves nothing for criminals to steal.
In that same vein, try to avoid entering personal details like email addresses and passwords where possible. And don’t log into a game with a social media service like Facebook. There’s no telling how the developers store this information or how they use it. Data breaches are a common occurrence these days, and it’s better to share as little information with third parties as possible.
5. Keep Games and Other Apps Updated
Updates are essential for fixing any security vulnerabilities that developers discover in their games. It’s important to download any new updates as they become available to keep games patched.
Using Android comes with a set of advantages and disadvantages. But most of the latter can be avoided effectively by taking care and sticking to established safety practices. Be extra careful when downloading any new games and never share personal information unless absolutely necessary.