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Report: Top 5 cyber-threats faced by gaming industry

August 28, 2018

The gaming industry is at a crossroads. Cyber-crime threatens to not only steal revenue from game publishers, but also inhibit future game creation that is only made possible by the sale of popular titles. Not to mention the very real issue of player cheating that threatens to destroy in-game economies and put legitimate gamers in an unfair position.

A report from Irdeto notes that if the threat of cybercrime is not addressed, then game publishers may soon find themselves in a losing battle where hackers have the upper hand.

The top five threats identified by the report are:

  • Account Takeover and Credential Theft – One of the most common ways for hackers to make a quick buck is to sell a hacked account. The Irdeto cybersecurity investigations team recently conducted an investigation on one site on behalf of a games publisher to determine the extent of stolen accounts for sale. For one game title, the team found more than 53 accounts for sale ranging in price from $5 up to $15,000 depending on what is included in the account purchased.
  • Virtual Goods and Virtual Economy Threats – One tactic often used by hackers is Gold Farming. This criminal strategy, often made possible by implementing a Gold Farming bot, creates resources within the game much faster than usual, causing inflation. Hackers can capitalize on the oversupply by selling these goods at a rapid pace. However, over time, the value of these items decreases significantly.
  • Game Piracy, Cracking and Console Hacking – Console hacking also remains a persistent threat across the gaming industry. Once attackers have gained access to the consoles themselves, they could gain access and download several games either through software packages or additional cracking. In addition, once hackers have access to the consoles, the gamer’s personal information, credit card details, account logins, and passwords, etc. could all be accessed.
  • Distributed-Denial-of-Service Attacks on Gaming Platforms and Servers – Typically, there are two main reasons why a hacker would execute a DDoS attack. The first would be to target other gamers, to knock them off their IP address. It could be financially motivated or just bad blood. The second reason would be to target gaming platforms and servers. A hacker could take down game infrastructure then demand a ransom to stop the attack and bring it back online.
  • Cheating and Reputational Threats – For cheaters, the opportunities to exploit other players are plentiful. The Irdeto cybersecurity investigations team recently conducted research into cheats available online and for every game publisher the Irdeto team found multiple trainers and cheat engines. For some publishers, the Irdeto team identified cheats for more than 10 titles.

The first step to combat cybercrime is knowing what you’re up against, says Irdeto. With a better understanding of the most pervasive threats targeting the gaming industry, game publishers are better able to put in place safeguards to protect the creative process and the integrity of the game.

Categories: Articles, Games, Research