Can you hide your IP Address while playing games?
The world of online gaming is vast, fun, and chock full of exciting and immersive world-building. But are you, or your kids, really safe while playing multiplayer games with total strangers? What happens if a villainous player gets ahold of your IP address or confidential information?
It’s easy to forget to take preventative, protective measures when playing World of Warcraft or Fortnite — the need to go “insane in the membrane” or “ride the lightning” can take precedence over cybersecurity.
So what security measures can you use to protect yourself and your gaming kids? Can you hide your IP (Internet Protocol) address while playing games?
Let’s take a look.
The cybersecurity risks of online gaming
Online gaming provides a way to relax and connect with others around the globe. Although another player may seem like a trustworthy friend, the Internet allows us all to mask and change our identity.
The truth is, you won’t always be able to discern whether your Minecraft buddy has noble intentions, and your kids may have a hard time avoiding oversharing or exposing themselves to game hackers. Like all Internet activity, online gaming has its share of benefits and risks. Regardless of the cybersecurity protection you have, any time you connect to an online network, you’re vulnerable to some level of privacy invasion.
Why hide your IP address while gaming?
Your IP address is your unique geographical identifier that allows you to connect to and use the Internet. Your assigned IP address can be exposed while playing online games, and can put your security at risk.
Here are some compelling reasons to hide your IP address while gaming:
Provides an extra layer of privacy
Your IP address can allow hackers and other cybercriminals to find your physical location: These bad actors could then launch targeted malware attacks against you.
An unhinged player could also uncover your address and use it to stalk you. If your kids are playing online games, your IP address may be targeted for a cyberbully attack. A nefarious adult could also pose as a kid and ultimately cause your kids psychological or even physical harm.
Protection against DDoS attacks
Malicious gamers or cybercriminals posing as gamers might use DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks to disrupt your connection and take away any edge you may have in the game you’re playing.
By hiding your IP address, you become less susceptible to DDoS attacks and can enjoy a smoother gaming experience. If you hide your IP address, you won’t lose your game progress and your winning ways won’t be thwarted by these villains.
Avoid geo-restrictions on games
If you’re playing a game based in an area that has regionally-based connection restrictions, hiding your IP address with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) could allow you full access to all of your favorite online games.
Doxxing is the intentional revelation of an Internet user’s personal information. Typically, doxxing occurs as a form of punishment meted out by other Internet users who wish you ill.
Although doxxing is often a result of social media outrage, gamers aren’t immune to the threat of this malicious act. By concealing your personal information and your IP address while playing games, you give yourself a layer of protection against this threat.
Much like doxxing, swatting can be a vicious tactic used by your angry fellow gamers. Swatting utilizes your IP address to determine your physical location, and places an anonymous call to a local SWAT response team.
Emergency responders then show up on your front doorstep in response to the call. There have been terrifying, dangerous, and even deadly situations that have arisen due to swatting. Concealing your IP address can help add a layer of security against swatting.
How to hide your IP address while playing games online
Now that you understand why you should hide your IP address while playing games, you need to know what methods you can use to effectively do so.
Here are some of the ways that you can protect yourself and easily hide your IP address:
Use a VPN
Virtual private networks provide great versatility and add extra security to your online activity. They work by routing your Internet connection through multiple servers in various regions.
VPNs encrypt your personal data and assign you an anonymous IP address that makes it difficult for hackers to exploit your information and identify your physical location.
VPNs operate with low latency, which means that they support high speed connections and performance, so your gaming experience will remain glitch-free and still occur in real time.
Utilize a proxy server
Proxy servers help prevent cyberattacks by acting as gateway intermediaries between your device and the gaming servers. When you use a proxy server, your IP address is masked and you can play games anonymously.
A proxy server doesn’t offer the same level of protection as a VPN. However, there are trusted proxy servers which are used frequently by gamers, including Oxylabs, MobileHop, and SmartProxy.
Use a gaming VPN router
Gaming VPN routers are designed to optimize your experience playing games online. These routers are pre-configured to allow you to use a VPN and hide your IP address while you dive into the world of online gaming.
Some of the most popular gaming VPN routers include NetGear’s Nighthawk line, Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000, and TP-Link Archer C5400X.
How to protect your kids’ game playing
It’s particularly important to remember that your kids are exposed to privacy risks when playing online games as well. According to the Pew Research Center:
- 97% of kids use the Internet daily
- 46% of teenagers say they’re constantly online — and much of this time includes gaming
- 88% of teens constantly online also report that they share too much personal information
Monitor the time your kids spend playing games online. It’s difficult to ensure your teens are using necessary cybersecurity protections, but a checklist of reminders may help them to remain aware and use caution.
Limit the amount of time they can spend playing games, and ask them to make a list of the games they play for you to monitor. Install parental control software to help protect younger children as they play online games.
Other tips for security while playing games online
VPNs, proxy servers, and gaming VPN routers can hide your IP address, and help you feel a bit safer as you battle in World of Warcraft. However, it’s always best to use these tools in conjunction with other cybersecurity measures.
Here are some other easy tips to help you protect yourself while playing games:
- Research VPN and proxy servers. Look for brands that are known for a commitment to privacy and security
- Utilize two-factor authentication (2FA). Hackers may crack your fortnitedance123 password, but they’re less likely to access your account if you enable 2FA
- Use a strong password with a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Again fortnitedance123 probably isn’t going to work.
- Regularly update your device’s operating system and gaming software. Outdated software and security patches can leave you vulnerable to hackers and malware attacks.
Level up your gaming experience by keeping yourself as safe as possible. You can hide your IP address while playing games, which can protect you from @MARIOkart69 when he threatens to swat you. Monitor your kids’ gaming activities and teach them how to hide an IP address, too.
Use a VPN, proxy server, or a gaming VPN router to give yourself peace of mind and to keep your kids safe. In the world of online gaming, it’s vital to protect yourself with cybersecurity measures. Hide your IP address and enjoy multiple hours of Fortnite without the stress of hacker threats weighing you down.
For more privacy tools and tips on online safety, check out the What Is My IP Address blog.
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