Padlock security

How gamers are kept safe online

Contrary to what some people might be saying in the press, encryption and security are central to the continued growth and success of the internet. Communications services like WhatsApp utilise end-to-end encryption to make sure your personal messages a free from prying eyes, while all websites on the net are moving to HTTPS/SSL to make sure visiting websites for banking to entertainment is safe.

To see if a site is using a valid security certificate, you just open Developer Tools in your browser and click on the Security section. There you will find information, both about the certificate itself, which ensures the identity of the site you are visiting, but also the strength of the encryption of the connection between your computer and the website’s server.

For example, the increasingly popular Malta-based Mr Green Casino uses the Transport Layer Security (TLS) version 1.2, which adheres to the latest industry standards of security of SSL 2.0, a 256-bit Elliptic curve Diffie–Hellman (ECDHE) RSA public-key cryptosystem, and the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128 Galois Counter Mode (GCB) cipher. Google describes each of these “a strong protocol”, “a strong key exchange”, and “a strong cipher”.

These combined technologies make it extremely difficult for hackers to target users of the site in so-called “man-in-the-middle attacks” to steal personal or financial data, and we have written before how the internet’s move towards greater security is better for everyone.

Beyond security, to be really safe playing games online, users need to know that they are playing a fair game, where the odds are not stacked with the house. Some firms have gone down the route of using the Bitcoin-based blockchain to make sure the games are provably above board, while others like Mr Green rely on random number generators that have had their outcomes verified by institutions such as the Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science as well as research firms like Testfreaks.

Despite the web maturing as a technology that has now been around for nearly thirty years, many places still do not take security as seriously as they should. So, it remains good practice for users to investigate how a firm is keeping them and their data secure before opening their wallets and getting out their VISA or Mastercard, or making a bank transfer so they can start playing the games.

Photograph by The Digital Way