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Security tips while playing online poker
The internet is an interesting place to be and is highly enjoyable to use. There will always be, however, elements on this information superhighway that want to exploit it for more malicious purposes. This makes some internet users anxious about going online and submitting their personal details and financial information to websites such as online gaming sites. Below is a look at some of the measures you can take to protect yourself when using an online poker site so that you can enjoy the game without online security concerns preying on your mind while you do so.
Install good computer security software
If you’re going to truly protect yourself against the criminal elements out there in cyberspace, don’t go with a basic, free antivirus package. Upgrade to a stronger package that will shield you from the attacks of worms, Trojans, keyloggers, identity thieves and spammers. A solid security suite will include a firewall, which will stop someone getting onto your machine or, at least, make it a whole lot harder.
It's worth paying that subscription. The suite will receive more updates than the basic package, so your computer will be more secure to use. Don’t just update your antivirus. Download any free updates, such as Java or Adobe, for your operating system.
Of course, if you’re running a home poker tournament, you don’t have to worry as much about these sorts of measures. It’s all about having a good time and maybe winning a little money.
Research the operator
What kind of reputation does the operator have? Do some digging and find out what people are saying about them in reviews. Does the operator have a reputation for taking a long time to pay or for not paying at all? What do reviewers say about their other services?
Find out how long the operator has been running. If they’ve been running a long time, they’ll be well established and are likely to have a good reputation (and lots of reviews). Online gaming operators understand the importance of a solid reputation in their industry and work hard to cultivate it. The reviews aren’t a caste-iron guarantee that the operator is reliable, but there should be enough to confirm or dispel any doubts you might have.
Check if they ask for verification
The websites shouldn’t just be taking your money after you enter your username and password. When you make a financial transaction to play poker online, the site should ask you for verification to confirm that the person isn’t stealing your identity. If the site doesn’t ask you for valid ID, this could be a bad sign.
In the same way as platforms such as Facebook, Google and other tech giants do, the operator may do this by asking you to go through a two-step authentication process. This is likely to be a code that they send to your mobile phone first and you then have to type in.
Look for high-tech encryption on their login screen
When you log in, the website should encrypt your password and enter into a secure database to which only a small few people have access. Many operators follow a 128 or 256-bit encryption, which makes it incredibly hard for anyone unauthorized to access your data. This data protection method is the same as the banks use and the operator will have an SSL certificate if they use it. Check if they have one.
See with which banking and financial partners they’re working
Before you make any sort of deposit on the website, you should check if the operator is working with licensed vendors. Part of keeping safe in an online poker room isn’t just about playing with a secure operator, but also about one that works with secure service providers. If the third-party financial operator doesn’t offer a secure process, your precautions regarding the poker site itself won’t mean a thing. PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, for instance, are all licensed vendors and you’ll feel a little safer when you see them on the website.
Use strong passwords
Don’t use simple passwords such as “Hello”, “password” or “1234”, or your kids’ or pets’ names. Your password must consist of seven or eight characters and include symbols and numbers, not just letters, to make it strong. Password-cracking programs can also guess passwords easily if you replace letters with numbers — e.g. he110 — so you should be wary of this and make your password as original but as memorable to you as possible.
Keep your details private
Don’t tell anyone your password. Store it where no one will find it and if you have to contact the operator’s customer service team — if the site doesn’t offer a clear way to get in touch with them, it’s a red flag — then don’t reveal any details to them they don’t ask you for. Only reveal your details if it’s necessary for them to resolve your issue.
Online poker operators take a lot of care to protect their customers, by implementing data encryption, asking users for ID verification and working with trusted partners. By following the steps above, players can also make playing poker online safer for themselves and get the most out of their sessions. It can be easier to concentrate on the game when you’ve covered the security aspects of the experience.