Did you buy you children a new games console?

Did you buy you children a new games console?

Published by The Wessex FM News Team at 12:06am 29th December 2019.

Dorset cyber-security firm C3IA Solutions say kids are at risk of hacking.

Christmas is an exciting time for many children waiting to open up a new games console - but there could be hidden risks.

Matt Horan, security director of C3IA solutions said:

"Gamers are using technology and servers that no longer work in isolation; it is all about networked gaming - my grandson does it he is seven.

"Security has not been embedded into many gaming platforms due to the need to share information and also the need for high processing speeds and graphics."

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But he says the risks aren't just limited to consoles - video games on mobile phones often gather your personal information.

"The more personal the data, the more valuable it is to hackers - and mobile games often track such intimate information as location, their engagement, and even phone calls.

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What can you do to keep safe?

Staying safe is all about being informed - according to Matt.

He said:

"There are things you can do to minimise the risk: be phishing aware - look for fake sites and emails; use different passwords or passphrases for each game; use a good antivirus product that supports gaming; if enabled use the multi-factor authentication

"Ideally select a gaming vendor that has security at the front of its services with credible certifications that it openly advertises.

"Furthermore, parents can assist by making these risks clear to their children who might be using their first gaming console."

Parental controls

There are also a number of things you can do AFTER you've bought a console.

Dorset Police say parental controls are an important way to keep track of who your children a talking to online. They also recommend making sure your children can't make any unwanted purchases from your bank account.

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Chris Conroy, Cyber Crime Protect and Prevention Officer for Dorset Police, said: 

"All the major console manufacturers provide a range of parental controls for their consoles.

"Many of these are aimed at keeping children safe online, limiting their exposure to things that may not be appropriate. 

"Children can communicate with their friends whilst playing games, giving gaming a social element, however it is difficult to control who they are speaking to. With the parental controls available you can restrict this feature, preventing strangers from making contact with your child.

"It is also possible to restrict access to games over a certain PEGI age rating. This ensures that your child cannot download or play games containing inappropriate language, or violence, for example.

"Parents should also ensure they restrict the ability to make purchases through the console. If you are happy for your child to download games from the console's game store, make sure you switch on spending limits to avoid any nasty surprises when your bank statement comes through."

For more information, and links to each manufacturers parental control pages, click here.