by Sam Liu
Many believe that online games are fun and it can be very true. However, there are certain precautions that one should take before signing up for an online game.
As a matter of practice for myself, I have a stupid password (namely "hahaha") that I use in conjunction with a stupid username the first time I sign up for a game. I take a look around, and judge for myself whether or whether not a game is safe.
A motive of my own game in the beginning, and I'll admit this, was to be able to see my friends' passwords. I was a 7th grader who had no idea what a "phish" was and who played many online games with friends. In hope of stealing credits or items in the popular games of that time (Gunbound or Utopia) I set off to create a game.
A year after developing my game, I largely stopped play other internet games. I also put in md5 and later sh1 encryption for passwords in my game for fear of hackers. So now (and let me reassure you) my game is perfectly safe and you can be sure I will guard your privacy.
The point is: people have bad motives for creating games very often. The best games to play are by people who want money via advertising. Because they are getting money through ads and nothing else, they tend to protect your privacy and never ask for personal info. The game is being outright honest and benevolent: nothing wrong about earning some well deserved cash for entertaining people. And the best part is that the only people who pay are Google adsensers or other advertisers.
But the biggest evil motives include
a) Identity theft: If they can get your credit card, SSN, or any personal info, they will use it. Not a good motive, and definately not legal! Beware! The percentage of makers who have this motive is small but it is present. I know someone who had this happen. Not fun.
b) Money Making Via Donations: Please, don't donate freely unless you know where your money is going. Many people don't need money to support their servers; free hosting is an easy thing to get. If they do need money for servers they probably only need at max like $500 a year not a stupid monthly thing. Nuh uh, no way. So yes they want to gain popularity and earn cash. Stupid motive.
c) Password Harvesting (a.k.a "Phishing"): This problem runs rampant in small games. You should probably look for a complex, well-designed game before playing; not necessarily "big" but more complex than 5 functions! Because, early games have no password encryption. Dangerous for your privacy.
So yes my point is: be careful and know your stuff!
Hint: Little games where the administrator is friendly are usually safe. But to be on the safe side I usually have a long, hard password for my personal stuff and a stupid password for things like games.
Go and play safe =)