The Metaverse. A huge online network of virtual, 3D worlds where visitors can do everything from shopping to meeting friends, trading NFTs, buying property… even attending Fashion Week shows. Steven Spielberg’s film “Ready Player One” demonstrated how gaming and the Metaverse could look, giving players the ability to interact with other characters, other people, drive cars, play virtual reality games, all online in this digital world.
It’s the biggest thing to happen to the internet in a long time, and yet it’s one of the most unknown and unregulated places when it comes to online safety and scams – particularly when it comes to gaming.
Who’s gaming in the metaverse?
New research reveals that 29 per cent of gamers have already gamed in the Metaverse, while a further 37 per cent say they plan to in the future. And its popularity is rising – in fact, our network data showed that over 5,000 Oculus headsets, which most gamers use to access the Metaverse, were connected to our network on Christmas day 2021 placing it in the top five gaming gifts for the first time.
Gaming scams are on the rise
However, the fact it is so new does mean that people experiencing it for the first time can be vulnerable. 71 per cent of gamers have been targeted, or know someone who has been targeted, by cyber criminals when gaming online. You’re not required to pass rigorous identification checks to use the Metaverse, meaning scammers can easily start conversations with gamers, pretending to be a friendly avatar wanting to play.
Would-be scammers can fake their age, location, picture and other details, sometimes even to impersonate someone you know and trust, to gain personal information such as your logins or passwords.
Top Tips for gaming safely
It’s important to keep security front of mind when gaming in the metaverse, as you’ll be interacting with strangers in a largely unregulated environment. This can increase your risk of being targeted by scammers, so it’s always best to be prepared.
Here are a few things you can do to stay safe:
- Never respond to gamers asking for personal details; they might be bots: Increasingly players buying virtual money or digital assets online are being targeted by bots, who ask for personal details that might be associated with your bank accounts. Odds are they don’t just want to send you a birthday card.
- Always use a new, strong password when setting up gaming tech: You should never re-use passwords from other sites or use personal information – such as family or pet names – and ideally should use a password manager like the one included in TalkTalk’s SuperSafe add-on, that securely stores long, hard to guess passwords (like B*bX$%y9LUW7kyk2).
- Secure your online accounts: As a back-up security filter, set up secure Multi Factor authentication on your online gaming and social media profiles to prevent hackers from being able to access your accounts.
- Don’t click on anything shared in gaming chat rooms: Scammers often use chat rooms as a way of spreading malicious content, so if someone shares a link with you make sure the URL match the genuine website. Otherwise, you may end up on a phishing website and targeted by scammers.
- Make new Metaverse friends with caution: Many scammers now use false identities and avatars on the Metaverse so they’re not identifiable, despite acting and sounding like a real person, so be cautious when making new friends online.
- Be extra vigilant at the end of a long gaming session: Scammers often target tired gamers who they know have been playing for hours. If a player approaches you with strange questions at the end of a long gaming session, log off and take a break. If anyone ever pressures you to make a decision there and then, such as clicking on a link in a chat, always walk away.
SuperSafe – award winning online safety
If you want gaming-optimized internet security, then award-winning SuperSafe has your back. SuperSafe includes Gaming Mode which optimizes performance for a smooth and secure gaming experience.
SuperSafe also protects you from malware, blocks malicious websites and secures your online shopping and banking sessions as well. Plus, it comes with a Password Manager feature to help you store your logins safely. Awarded for its security and speed, it’s the perfect choice for gamers.
It can be added to your TalkTalk package via My Account .
Research sourced from a poll of 2000 gamers – January 2022