Twitch has risen in popularity in recent years as a social networking platform for gamers. Users can watch and comment on live streams of other gamers playing popular (and niche) games. In fact, many users choose to stream their gameplay for fun. Others take it a step further and use the platform as their primary source of income, even investing in gaming setups, and a variety of ways to increase the number of their Twitch viewers. As expected, a larger following will likely translate into a higher revenue, but what are the security risks of using the service? How safe are Twitch users from a cybersecurity perspective?
Although Twitch has a policy to allow users the use of two-factor authentication, placing the cybersecurity issues in the hands of its users makes for a weak system. In 2019, there were reports from many users claiming their accounts were hijacked. Further investigation revealed lax security measures in one game was likely the cause for the breach in security. Twitch users that had applied the same password for the game “Town of Salem” and their Twitch account soon found their accounts hijacked.
Although there are cybersecurity measures in place, Twitch was criticized for placing most of the burden on the user. Uninformed users are likely to face difficulties in maintaining their security.
In 2020, a cybersecurity firm reported that Twitch was used for fraudulent activity by many scammers. They copied recent broadcasts from highly popular streamers and added banners that advertised a money making scheme. Needless to say, those who unknowingly clicked on the banners were led to scam websites where their banking information was stolen (if they fall for the scam. The fraudsters reportedly used advanced tools to bring their cloned streams higher up in Twitch’s feed (which is usually arranged by popularity). They also added fake comments to livestreams saying that the money scheme was legitimate.
How To Protect Yourself Against Cybersecurity Breaches On Twitch
Despite the aforementioned incidents, Twitch is generally considered a safe website to use and visit. However, anywhere on the internet these days poses a security and privacy risk for users. Exercising precautions and taking the proper safety measures are a must. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe on the popular game streaming website Twitch:
- Never disclose any personal information on your live streams. Also make sure that nothing in your background has important information that can be used by hackers and scammers. This could include your name, surname, address, date of birth, and other similar information.
- Never use the same password twice. For example, in the account hijacking cases of 2019, users that had a different password for their Twitch account and their game account were not hacked. We cannot stress the importance of having unique passwords for all your accounts.
- Use strong passwords on your account. If your password is any of the common combinations of your name and date of birth, change it now. Weak passwords are easily hacked by simple software. You can find many software online that can help you generate unique, strong passwords.
- Use two factor authentication whenever you have the chance. This means that even when you log in using the correct password, you will need to enter a code or press a button from a separate device (such as your smartphone). This ensures that only you, the original account owner, has access to your account.
- Educate yourself on the ways that scammers use to take your information. It is very easy for us to trust people once they claim to be of certain authority. Being careful online requires a much more complex way of judging the legitimacy of the person selling you anything - especially if they need to take a small amount of money first. Usually the small charge is just a decoy to get your banking information.
- Use a Virtual Private Network and encryption software if possible. We understand that many VPNs slow down internet connection, but if you are serious about your cybersecurity, this is the best defense against hackers accessing your data. Even if they gained access to your Twitch account, a VPN will protect your location while an encryption software will keep your data secure.