A Brief Guide To Online Poker Computer Security
For most poker players, money is lost at the tables while playing. For some, it's lost while sleeping. Countless complaints are made every year about someone hacking their poker account and stealing all their funds. Usually it's transferred to someone else or chip dumped to the culprits own account and withdrawn quickly, often hackers just take accounts for joy rides and spew chips across the tables. Hackers are getting smarter every day and the poker sites are struggling to keep up with them.
Protecting your computer and poker accounts is vital for any serious poker player. Poker is your livelihood and losing your money to a hacker can be a serious blow to your finances. There are certain steps you can take to protect your funds and your personal information. The first step you should take is changing your passwords often. Make sure it is something unique and lengthy. Don't use birthdays or addresses as hackers may already have your personal information and this would make finding your password easy.
Always avoid using the same password for your email address on poker clients and other websites, otherwise you're making life far too easy for hackers. Just recently the largest poker forum on the internet was hacked and all its user's passwords were compromised during the process, this highlights the importance of using unique passwords on the internet, by using the same password across your email and multiple sites, you're invariably, but also knowingly handing out your email password. In the case of 2+2 the hacker would have known your email address and password in an instant, some of the biggest companies in the world have been compromised by hackers at some point. It's vitally important to use unique passwords for different accounts and websites, your email address however is the most important of all your passwords, your email address is a gateway to every site and service you've ever signed up for, always ensure it's very secure and change it regularly.
PC Essential Software
The next step is to install a firewall along with an anti-virus program. You should already be using these even if you don't play online poker. Comodo Internet PC security Suite is a good tool that helps protect you from viruses and hackers. There are other tools such as McAfee and AVG that all work good too, most offer free forms of usage, so you've no excuse to have a good firewall and security suite running on the machine you play poker from.
Additional Password Security
Some sites will offer a token key. This is a tool that changes your password every time you log out. Once you log back in you will be prompted to enter the next key that will displayed on the token key. This is one of the best possible steps you could take to ensuring your funds are safe. If your poker room offers this, get it ASAP. As well as poker sites, Moneybookers or Skrill and other financial transaction companies such as Paypal also offer these security tokens, they are worth their weight in gold in terms of online security.
Web Browser & System Updates
Some web browsers are prone to more attacks than others. It's recommended to use Firefox, Google Chrome or Comodo Dragon Browser. All are free to install and work well. If you are using a Mac, you don't have as much to worry about, but you still need to make sure you change passwords frequently and implement firewalls and anti-virus programs immediately. Ensure that you all your security essentials and software are kept updated and that each program is set to update automatically, The reason it's advised to religiously update your software because updates are usually released to patch security vulnerabilities.
The Most Common Ways Hackers Will Target You
Your downloading and software installation habits can provide hackers with an open door to your machine, this means no downloading from torrent sites, no downloading and installing cracked or pirated software, you want to keep your machine 100% clean and safe. With cracked software, you will often find security holes that will grant a hacker easy access to your machine, for peace of mind, always buy genuine applications or software, to make an analogy. Once you put your machine at risk to these exposures, you're leaving the backdoor of your machine unlocked and prone to security breaches.
Email Phishing / Spoofing and browsing habits, this is one of the most common ways players fall victim to fraud. Ensure your email or software provider you use for checking your mail has a good detection system, and if ever in doubt, never follow links in suspect emails and contact the company to verify they sent the email.
Browsing and staying secure over instant messaging, often other players instant messaging accounts are hijacked and a scammer will pose as this player and try and to scam funds from the users contact list, if someone you have on your instant messaging contacts appears out of the blue one day asking for a lend of money, if you have their mobile number, it's worth giving them a call to make sure you're really talking to who they say they are, I've read countless stories of players being scammed this way, always be vigilant and on your guard, never transfer large amounts of money at a whim, and always have security at the back of your mind, it's better to be safe, than sorry.
Also be weary of people linking you to random websites with strange urls, many websites have malicious code embedded that will attempt to exploit vulnerabilities on your machine, it's generally best not to follow links from random people you don't know, unless you can verify their authenticity.
All of these steps are vital to keeping your funds safe. They are all very easy to do and most of them are free. Taking a few moments out of your life could change it forever by making sure you never lose the money you worked so hard for.