Streaming is a great way to take your gaming interests into the wider online community. Streaming is a fun way to make friends and develop a community around shared interests and passions. However, like all online endeavors, it's important to keep safety and security in mind as you stream. Here are some tips and pointers for keeping yourself and your identity safe and secure while you stream.
Maintain Account Security with Two-Factor Authentication and a Strong Password
It's important that you treat the security of your stream account seriously. Make sure to create a strong password. Use numbers, special characters, and stay away from easily identifiable information like names and birthdays.
Also, be sure to institute two-factor authentication. This is security that requires two-sets of passwords to clear. For example, having to input a code texted directly to your phone. It might seem a hassle at times, but the extra security will be worth it in preventing hackers from accessing your account. Two-factor authentication should be used for both your Mixer account and your Microsoft Service Account.
Never Use Your Real Name While Streaming
Really, it is absolutely critical that you do not reveal your name on your stream, or to your followers. No matter how close you may grow between your streaming community, it is crucial that you do not reveal something as personal as your name. Many streamers report that their streaming friends are among the closest people that they know. And part of the appeal of streaming is the great community and comradery that can develop online.
However, for the sake of safety, both your physical safety and the safety of your online identity, you must not reveal your name through your streaming account. This can apply to your followers as well. Don't think that because you've grown close with someone, that you can invite them into your life. When it comes to the world online, caution is always the best course of action.
Use a New Email Address for Your Streaming Account
When streaming, it's important to create a separate email account that is not traceable to your personal or business email accounts. It is possible for other streamers and audiences to discover your streaming email account. If this is only linked to your streaming account this is no problem. But if your streaming account was linked to your business or personal email, you could have a serious problem as your streaming community and audience would have access to contacting your personal or work email.
Pick a Different Birthday
It might seem a little strange, but when signing up for an account, choose a different birthday than your real one. A birthdate might not seem like a lot, but identity thieves can access a lot of personal information with just a birthdate and some other personally identifiable information. Just to be safe, choose a birthdate different than your own.
Be Aware of the Information You Share
For example, don't give out information that can be traced back to you. If there are some unique features about the neighborhood or city that you live, leave those out in conversations over stream. Things like the places that you were born, or the places that you went to school can all be used to trace your location or steal your identity.
Avoid Sharing Information that can be Cross-Referenced
Don't share information about yourself that can be cross-referenced to find your identity. For example, if you played basketball in high school, and mention where your high school was, people might be able to cross-reference this information to determine who you are. Things like your college major, city of birth, or even geographical features of the area you live are things you should not give out over your stream.
Remove Personal Information from Images
If you have images of yourself up on your stream, be sure to remove any personal identifiable information from them before you show them or upload them. Anything that might feature a name, or school or city should not be shared.
Don't Use the Same Photo in Different Places
This means don't make your stream profile picture the same one on your social media accounts, or school accounts. That is too easy to cross-reference. Make sure to use separate images for all your stream accounts and don't let the same image circulate for different accounts.
Use a P.O Box. Consider Having It In a Different City
If you are going to use a mailing address for your streaming, be sure to use a P.O box. If you live in a smaller city, you might even think about having it in a different neighboring city than the one you live in. Because a P.O box can be used to identify your physical location, it's important not to have it easily traceable to where you are.
While security procedures can seem boring, tedious or even frightening, remember at the end of the day they are there to keep you safe. Identity thieves and other bad actors do exist online, and so it's important to minimize your risk of a malicious incident. With that being said, the overwhelming majority of streamers are people like you—people interested in bringing their gaming interests and passions to the wider online community. Following these security tips will just ensure that your streaming experiences stay fun, safe, and positive.