In the last year the Playstation and Xbox networks have been attacked by hackers, resulting in some users' personal information being stolen. Follow our steps below to avoid being targeted and to keep your account as safe as possible:
Accounts associated with your bank details should have a strong password; try using an assortment of characters (including upper and lowercase letters) and avoid using family names or the word "password".
Never give anyone your personal information or bank details. This may seem quite obvious but in the recent Xbox attack, a lot of people responded back to emails with their passwords or information, thinking they were from Microsoft. If in doubt, phone the manufacturer directly asking them if they sent the email to you.
Read our article on stronger passwords for more tips and guidance: Safer Passwords
2. Bank Account
It's always best practice to have a separate bank account or a credit card for your online transactions. That way, if someone did manage to get your details it wouldn't affect all your day-to-day outgoings. Also, look to see the right amount is taken out of your account each month - some cyber-thieves only take smaller amounts so it's unnoticeable.
If you're paying for content or subscriptions, some consoles allow you to pay using pre-pay cards that you can buy from the main supermarkets or gaming retailers. You can top-up the cards in £25, £35 etc increments, meaning you don't have to associate your card details with your online account.
3. Internet Security
When connecting your console to your wireless router there are some simple things you can do to ensure your network is secure:
Security Passwords: To make sure your internet can only be accessed with your devices, you should have a secure WEP, WPA or WPA2 password. If you haven't set one up or are unsure, type in the router's IP address into a web browser to configure it or read the router's manual for further instructions.
Read our article on types of Wi-Fi protection for more guidance: Types of Wi-Fi security
Parental Controls: If children are going to be using the console, you can setup parental controls which can set a time limit to how long they can play for, block them from watching certain movies by age ratings, or block parts of the internet.
Privacy Settings: Your console should allow you to change your privacy settings, for example; opting out of marketing, blocking explicit music, hiding personal information or even blocking users from purchasing content.