How Secure are Gaming Consoles?


Gaming consoles have been major players in the home entertainment industry since their conception, and with each year, new developments seek to excite and amaze their loyal fan base. From Sony Playstation to Xbox, there is truly a gaming console to meet each individual need and desire from gamers. And as technology is developing at an exponential rate, new consoles are coming more impressive, pushing the boundaries of what gamers thought was possible, in terms of graphics, sound quality, memory space, and realism in both the characters and environments they are played within. These developments have contributed to a steady increase in the popularity of online gaming, with a huge estimated 1.2 billion people now actively playing online games and engaging with the online gaming community. However, with online hackers and viruses plaguing the realm of home computers, laptops and mobile devices, the gaming community has started to become concerned about the safety of their gaming console. So, how secure are gaming consoles? Which gaming consoles are considered the safest? And how can you secure your console at home to keep gaming a safe and fun pastime?

How secure are gaming consoles in general?

Gaming consoles themselves are independent computers, so they are similar in their vulnerability to malware to your desktop or laptop at home. However, there are subtle differences that set the two apart, and these differences actually render gaming consoles as a lot more secure than their home computer counterparts. Newer models, such as the PS5 offer a safer gaming platform, as viruses and malware have not yet become advanced enough to penetrate the upgraded software that is present in the newest models. As gaming consoles are coded differently to computers, they are not susceptible to the same types of viruses that you might come across on a home computer, however it is still important to stay vigilant to ensure the safest gaming experience for all users of the console.

Which gaming consoles are considered the safest?

There are so many consoles to choose from, but generally, the newer the console the more likely it is to present a secure platform. The gaming community is currently awaiting the release of the newest addition, the Playstation 5, and it is presumed that shortly after this release, Microsoft’s Xbox will also release their latest model in a bid to compete. This next generation of gaming consoles present the best bet of a high level of security. The cutting edge technology that has already been presented by the pre-release statements from Sony’s Playstation, suggest that very little to no malware is yet developed enough to penetrate the console. Of course, with these next generation gaming consoles, will come the onset of updated games. These next-gen games will be compatible with the newest software, and therefore are likely to remain safe and secure within the gaming platform, while also providing massively improved graphics, sound, and overall gaming experience.

How can you secure your gaming console at home?

If you are still feeling worried about the security of your gaming console at home, there are a few steps you can take to maximize it’s safety.

  1. Create a very secure password and ensure you are changing it regularly (suggested every 3 months). This makes it harder for hackers to access your account details, therefore reducing the risk of them stealing your entire account.
  2. Hackers will usually target the personal info they already have, or that is already public, such as your username or email address. Educate yourself on what a phishing scam looks like, and never give out personal details over email.
  3. Lots of online gamers now chat to others online within forums. This is yet another arena that hackers can target to attempt to extract personal information. Similarly to email scams, be wary of disclosing details to anyone within a gaming forum.
  4. Secure everything in your home network. Although it may not be obvious, nearly all the computing devices you own will be linked in some way, either through the router, or from accounts on multiple devices. This can even extend to TVs, mobile phones, and home computers. Make sure a firewall is installed on each and update it regularly.
Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.