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Using virtual reality? Here are the cyber security risks you need to be aware of

If you’ve ever played (or wanted to play) with a VR console, you might think the only things you need to protect yourself from are tripping over your dog or accidentally punching someone in the face. a person wearing a VR headset, looking surprised, with grimacing emojis and cursor hands

While those physical dangers are definitely things that you need to look out for, there are cyber security threats that you should be aware of as well. Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure your virtual reality session doesn’t turn into a virtual nightmare.

Don’t buy a bootleg device

That knock-off VR headset may come at a fraction of the price, but it will also come with more risk. Bootleg gadgets may seem like appealing alternatives to their name brand counterparts, but when it comes to buying secure devices, you should always shop from familiar, reputable companies.

Often, these bootleg devices are sold by cyber criminals with the intent of corrupting your other connected devices or stealing money or information from you. At worst, they may contain dangerous spyware or malware used to infiltrate your devices. It’s possible that you may also receive a dud that either doesn’t turn on or doesn’t work at all as promised.
It’s best to stay away from these devices since they don’t adhere to typical cyber security rules and regulations.

Make sure that you’re making your purchases from reputable stores or directly from the brand itself. If you buy your VR system online, make sure you protect yourself from online shopping scams.

Use a VPN

VR devices will often require you to give up more information than other gaming hardware, since they use features like voice detection, a gyroscopic function to gauge your body movements and cameras to detect your surroundings. Some of these features may be common on other consoles but on VR systems, these features to be activated at all times for the game to work. These features, in addition to the usual data you provide to create an account in your gaming system, could be exploited by a cyber criminal. This is why you should take extra steps to protect your identity if you’re using VR.

A VPN (virtual private network) can help protect your privacy when you’re connected to the internet by hiding your location and your IP address. You can configure your router to use a VPN to block potential cyber attacks for worry-free gaming.

Use an alternate network for your alternate reality

Your home network devices, like modems and routers, keep you connected to the internet. Keeping all of your devices on the same Wi-Fi network, however, can be dangerous. If a cyber criminal infiltrates any of the devices connected to your network, they could gain access to all of the devices on your network. And unfortunately, the more devices you have, the more opportunities cyber criminals have to do this.

Some smart devices, such as your VR console, might not be as secure as your other gadgets, like your laptop or phone. This can make them even more vulnerable to cyber attacks. In order to protect yourself and your devices, create a separate Wi-Fi network for your guests and your smart devices. Connecting these devices to a separate network will ensure that your other devices can remain secure even if your VR console is compromised.

Update your device regularly

The easiest way to stay cyber safe is to perform regular updates on your devices – and your gaming consoles are no exception.

Software updates aren’t only useful for cool new features. They also contain important bug fixes and security patches to prevent cyber attacks. Since cyber criminals are always improving their methods to compromise your data, it’s important to stay updated to keep on top of their latest tricks.

To make sure you never miss an update, set your devices to run them automatically so you don’t have to worry about downtime when you’re trying to game.

Conclusion

For many Canadians, VR is a new and exciting way to game unlike any other playable experiences. But it’s important to use tried and true cyber security advice to protect yourself while you use them. Stay physically safe by following your console’s health and safety requirements – just don’t forget that maintaining your cyber security is just as important.

 

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