For some, Twitch streaming brings fame and fortune. The platform’s genre diversity has long transcended the boundaries of video games: artists, athletes and even bicycle couriers have all found appreciative audiences. From professional gamers to guitarists, all are united by the desire to connect with fans and earn a crust without falling victim to bullies, pranksters or spammers. Here are the security measures that all Twitch streamers need to take.
How to protect personal information
- Set up separate accounts specifically for Twitch that won’t point to the real you in search results, social media or forums.
- Your Twitch handle should not be your actual name, or even resemble it. This tip will be a recurring theme throughout this post: there is no need whatsoever for your fans to know your name or where you live. Use profile pics that are completely different from the ones on your social networks – similar photos are easy to find.
- Twitch-related accounts (profiles on Discord, social networks, etc.) must be registered under your Twitch handle and not give away your real name. If you already have personal accounts on Twitter, YouTube and the like, do not use them in conjunction with Twitch, but create new ones.
- We recommend that active streamers use a separate email and phone number that are linked only to accounts used for streaming (Twitch, Discord, YouTube, etc.).
- If you accept snail mail (fan letters/gifts, etc.), set up a PO Box. And do not use the box for any other purpose. In some countries, a PO Box can be set up under any name, in which case use your Twitch handle. If that’s not an option and you need to give out personal information, ask the post office if there’s a way to avoid revealing your real name.
- If Twitch becomes a regular source of income, consider setting up a legal entity and registering your domains, mailboxes and other assets under it.
- Check out our detailed guide to Twitch security and privacy settings.
- Use a strong unique password and two-factor authentication and install a comprehensive security solution for gamers on your computers that does not affect streaming and protects against phishing.
How to moderate Twitch chats
- Draw up a list of chat rules and share it with fans. You’ll make life easier for yourself and your moderators. We recommend formulating rules such as: “It is forbidden to post links,” “It is forbidden to disclose names, contact details or other personal information in a chat” – this will protect both you and the chat participants.
- If you don’t want fans to ask you about certain aspects of your personal life, you can explicitly set off-limit topics in the rules.
- Posting links should be banned not only because of the threat of spam; special URL-shortening services can be used to spy on the IP addresses and other data of those who tap or click on the link.
- Review the automatic chat moderation settings, and enable AutoMod if you think it will help you and your moderators. The level of moderation can be customized for sensitive topics. There is also a manually updatable list of bad words that can be filtered by AutoMod. Avoid sweeping bans on terms and topics – false positives annoy chatters.
- If there are chat users you know personally (especially offline), ask them separately not to discuss topics that you consider inappropriate. Make sure you are on the same page regarding no-go topics.
- If a chat user reveals any personal information about you (name, address or anything else), just delete the message and do not respond in any way. Do not comment on the veracity of the information. And delete personal information that someone has clearly made up – again without responding.
How to hide personal information in Twitch videos
- Before you start streaming, make sure there’s nothing in shot that shouldn’t be there. Here are some things that can give away personal information to eagle-eyed viewers:
- Envelopes, documents, bills, autographed photos, framed certificates.
- Personalized or souvenir clothing. Besides your own name, the name of a school, university or company on a souvenir T-shirt, for example, could be used to identify you.
- Personalized backpacks, mugs, plates, etc.
- Distinctive pieces of furniture and jewelry.
- Window views, even partial.
- Underwear or very personal items.
- Housemates, family members, pets.
- Create a signature backdrop (physical or virtual), and use it in all your streams.
- We recommend setting a short broadcast delay (from ten seconds to one minute) to give you time to react to potential glitches and incidents. This will make things much harder for stream snipers.
- Turn off your smart speakers and other voice-activated gadgets, or move them to another room. There have been cases of voice assistants leaking information during streams.
- If you are IRL streaming outside, always turn on your camera a good distance from home, so you don’t reveal the name of your street or a view of where you live. And it’s a bad idea to show buildings that could easily lead to you: school, workplace, nearby bus stops, stores, etc.
- If you’re streaming from a public place, be aware that interlopers, including IRL stream snipers, can get in your shot. Be prepared: practice emergency muting and wallpapering, and more importantly, have a plan of action to get rid of the intruder.
How to hide personal information in Twitch screencasts
- A lot of streamers show their screens. This is especially true for game streaming, but sometimes you may need to show something in your browser, Discord, or another app. Test all such apps in advance to make sure there is no inappropriate information on the screen.
- When streaming, make sure that only the apps you need are running. Anything extraneous should be turned off, closed or moved to another monitor that is not in the stream.
- Pay close attention to the contents of the Dock/Taskbar, tray icons (including the clock) and files on the desktop.
- Check that pop-ups and notifications are disabled or displayed on a non-streaming monitor.
- We recommend showing web content in a private browser used exclusively for this purpose, preferably in incognito mode. Make sure that you are not signed in to any personal accounts not related to streaming, such as email and other services.
- Make sure your streaming browser is configured to block ads and tracking. Keep in mind that contextual advertising may reveal your interests and approximate location, so turn it off during streaming. Use Kaspersky Premium settings to minimize ads and privacy risks.
- Again, set a slight delay in streaming (from ten seconds to one minute) to give yourself time to calmly deal with unforeseen situations and make the job of stream snipers more difficult.
- Prepare animated background images – saying “Starting in a couple of minutes,” “Thank you,” “Be right back,” and so on – to keep your audience engaged while setting up or dealing with technical issues. These are easily added in OBS Studio.
- Certain games and game consoles offer special tools to protect the privacy of streamers. Look for features that allow you to hide your alias and avatar, PSN username, region information and pings to game servers.
How to protect personal information in donations and wishlists
- If Twitch is a regular source of income for you, consider creating a legal entity to pay your earnings into and help protect your real identity.
- Twitch donations are usually made through PayPal. Any user can go to their payment history and view the real names of senders and recipients. To avoid such crude unmasking, use a PayPal business account.
- If your country doesn’t allow PayPal or you can’t switch to a PayPal business account, choose a service that accepts bank card donations and doesn’t show the recipient’s real name.
- If you receive gifts or snail mail in your PO Box, make sure that all name and address labels, post office stamps and other such information have been removed before showing such items to your viewers. Your PO Box for Twitch must not be used for anything else.
- It is becoming common practice to create wishlists on marketplaces like Amazon. Create a separate account for your Twitch wishlist – do not put it under an account that you use for everyday purchases. If possible, register the account under your Twitch handle.
General privacy tips for Twitch streamers
It’s a good idea to start thinking about privacy from day one, without waiting until you become a super-streamer – it’s better to build a safety net right away than try to wipe your data off the internet later. Use our guide to design your own personal threat landscape, as practiced in corporate security.
And for maximum privacy protection, use an all-in-one security solution like Kaspersky Premium:
- Protects against viruses and phishing.
- Prevents intrusion attempts, including through remote access tools.
- Blocks ads.
- Removes traces of your activity.
- Prevents online collection of personal data.
- Detects leaks of personal data containing email addresses and phone numbers.
- Provides encrypted storage of data and documents.
- Offers premium priority technical support.
- Includes a password manager with generation of two-factor authentication codes.
Your Kaspersky Premium subscription covers all your devices. For more information on features and capabilities, please see our separate posts on protection for computers and Android/iOS smartphones.