We all know the horror stories. Parents finding their credit cards maxed out by a hacker their child met on Roblox, gamers having their personal information doxxed by large-scale game data leaks, private information being sold on the dark web like digital currency.
Gamers might be among the more clued-up internet users, but when one slip-up could compromise your sensitive information, is it time for gamers to embrace online security software specifically tailored for them?
I've been using Norton 360 for Gamers for the past few weeks and here are my thoughts.
What do modern antivirus software suites offer?
Antivirus software has one key focus: to block dodgy files and apps from taking root on your computer. This means catching files before you download them, or at worst, warning you before you open them.
Protecting your computer was once a reasonably straightforward task for antivirus software: a firewall would scan incoming files and app activity, and alert the user if something was fishy.
With the increasing amount of sensitive information moving from storage on physical computers and other devices to being stored in the cloud, it isn't that easy anymore.
I often find antivirus software annoying. It typically comes as a freebie when you buy a new computer, then sits around and reminds you to renew it until you uninstall it.
With Norton 360 for Gamers, you get a comprehensive list of security features that maximises protection when you're using your PC, although core components are indistinguishable from other Norton software.
Norton 360 for Gamers offers a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that obscures your geographical location, a secure storage system for your passwords, smartphone protection and parental controls. Most antivirus software suites offer these features, so against the competition, there really isn't anything special here.
Where Norton 360 for Gamers shines
Norton 360 for Gamers is different from the Norton of old. Legible and simplistic, it's easy to use even for the technophobes among us.
There's no arduous trek in search of the scan button and no redundant or useless features taking up valuable screen space.
Where NortonLifeLock really shines is with its unique dark web monitoring features. As someone who's had sensitive account information exposed in mass data breaches, I place a lot of value in dark web monitoring.
NortonLifeLock searches for sensitive information like account details, email addresses, credit card information (and with Norton 360 for Gamers, Gamertags and other online names) on the dark web and will alert you if it finds any.
In certain circumstances this can allow gamers to get ahead of mass data breaches, which are becoming a regular pain for video game companies storing the sensitive information of their consumers.
Once acquired, it's common for your account data to be auctioned off to phishers via the dark web, leaving you vulnerable to scams, blackmail, or vicious malware like viruses and keyloggers.
For parents out there with younger children playing games like Roblox, Among Us or Minecraft, being able to monitor if your personal information surfaces on the dark web may be a very strong selling point.
Through NortonLifeLock's Dark Web Monitoring software, I was able to check to see if my debit card, email address and Gamertag had ever surfaced on the dark web. I've been compromised seven times in the last ten years.
While I didn't lose any particularly valuable information in any of the breaches, if it had been one of my main gaming logins I use across a number of games, I would be at risk of losing sensitive information like my credit card, date of birth, email address and even my home address.
Having protection against this sort of attack is crucial - but just how crucial it is will only become apparent after an attack. It's a bit like wearing a seatbelt, the value of which you'll only ever truly know if you have a serious car accident.
Is gamer-oriented antivirus software worth buying?
Apart from notifying you if it finds your Gamertag on the dark web, Norton 360 for Gamers doesn't offer much over and above other antivirus suites.
Compared to Norton 360 Deluxe, for example, it's identical in every way, including the cost of your subscription.
Where it differs against other antivirus software aimed at gamers is it protects against data breaches, rather than focusing on hacking or computer performance while the software is running.
If you're a savvy internet user who maintains good internet hygiene, you can afford to look past Norton 360 for Gamers in favour of other antivirus suites. But if you're concerned about being at the forefront of data breaches, the extra peace of mind if offers may make sense.
Oskar was supplied a subscription to Norton 360 for Gamers for this review.