Building a Strong Defense: An Emphasis on Cyber Security in Game Development


 Building a Strong Defense: An Emphasis on Cyber Security in Game Development

From arcades to mega multiplayer games, and video games to online gaming, the gaming industry has claimed the throne for the largest entertainment industry worldwide. With a revenue of a whopping $185 billion reported in 2022, the industry has outperformed both the music and film industries, rendering its competitors in the dust. With such a vast and expanding sector sitting on a hotbed of coveted data and funds, it should come as no surprise that it automatically becomes a magnet for certain nefarious actors.




Why Do Gaming Companies Need to Focus on Their Security?


The answer to that is pretty obvious. Any average gamer is inclined to trust gaming software with their private details, allowing them to spend real money or cryptocurrency in return for in-game commodities. Both sorts of data are valuable and attract hackers. Cybercriminals will use a variety of tactics to intercept data that may be resold online or to reroute transactions into their accounts.


As proven by examples from other industries such as banking and retail, a consumer data breach can have far-reaching consequences. Shroyer, chief CX innovation officer for Arise Gaming, a consulting firm that helps gaming companies improve customer satisfaction and gamer engagement in their platforms says "Players of games depend on trust, credibility, and predictability when leveraging a brand's game". Aside from making players exposed through the revealing of sensitive personal data, gaming firms face financial and brand harm. Some hackers may try to uncover and exploit security flaws in order to interrupt one’s gaming experiences. These service disruptions harm a game's or a company's reputation and cost them money.


What Are Some Common Threats In Gaming And How Can These Be Prevented?


Let’s take a look at a few common cyber threats faced by game developers. In fact, why not take another step and make this more enjoyable. Imagine you take the stance of a player in a game. The player (you) will be attacked with different types of cyber crimes and make an appropriate counterattack (in this context, prevention techniques). Let’s begin, shall we?


[Attack]: Credential theft to steal gamer identity


When hackers gain unauthorized access to users' credentials and therefore their accounts, they are able to steal virtual goods or cash or commit fraud. This can occur via a variety of methods, including phishing schemes, malware, or brute-force assaults on weak or stolen passwords.



Developers could mitigate this risk by deploying robust authentication techniques like two-factor authentication and educating users about the dangers of weak passwords and phishing schemes.


[Attack]: DDoS on gaming platforms and servers


A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) cyberattack aims to overwhelm regular server traffic, slowing or blocking legitimate connections. These attacks can be directed at gaming servers, preventing connections for numerous users, or against personal devices, hence affecting a single user. DDoS assaults are difficult to fight against and can be initiated by botnets or other ways. DDoS assaults are difficult to safeguard against and can be implemented by botnets or other methods. As a matter of fact, in 2014, a hacker collective, who referred to themselves as the ‘Lizard Squad’, used DDoS cyber attacks to take down both PlayStation and Xbox networks which led to players being left unable to play networked games (and on Christmas Day!).



Game developers can limit this risk by adopting DDoS protection services and incorporating redundancy into their infrastructure to ensure that gaming services stay operational even if an assault occurs. Developers can guarantee that their game services remain available to genuine players and reduce the impact of cyber assaults on their business by recognising and mitigating DDoS attacks.

[Combo Attack (x3)]:  Game Piracy, cracking and hacking

Looks like we have a three-in-one, so let’s look at each one individually.

Game Piracy refers to the unauthorized distribution of game software. This can cost game developers financially as well as harm their brand and reputation. Piracy can take several forms, including downloading a game from an unauthorized website, exchanging game files on peer-to-peer networks, and illegally distributing game keys.

Game Cracking is the process of evading copy protection measures. In other words, it involves breaking or bypassing copy protection methods to allow unauthorized usage or distribution of game software. Crackers often use reverse-engineering in order to detect and disable copy protection mechanisms in the game software.

Game Hacking refers to the unauthorized access to the game files and systems. This can ultimately lead to data theft, cheating, or the exploitation of in-game vulnerabilities. Hackers can utilize weaknesses in the game’s system in order to gain access to user accounts, game servers, or game resources.



Developers can reduce the risk of these attacks by employing digital rights management (DRM) tools and by collaborating with law enforcement to prosecute cybercriminals. DRM tools like encryption or online activation, will help prevent unauthorized copying and distribution of game software. However, the ultimate strategy to tackle these attacks would be a collaborative approach that involves game developers, law enforcement and industry groups. Game developers can work together with law enforcement to report cases of craving, hacking and piracy and provide evidence to aid in criminal investigations. Additionally, partnerships with industry groups and stakeholders can be beneficial as these groups can provide resources and assistance that will help to identify and alleviate security concerns, as well as push for stricter laws and regulations to combat cybercrime. Together, these groups can assist to protect game developers' intellectual property and revenue streams while also ensuring a safe and secure gaming environment for the players.


[Attack]: Reputational Threats


These are a type of threat that can bring forth damage to a developer’s brand and reputation. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this feat, including a data breach that exposes sensitive user information, a security issue that causes game downtime or data loss, or even unfavorable press as a result of a cyber attack or other security problems.



These types of issues can be controlled by adopting strong security measures like encryption and access controls, as well as efficiently communicating with players about their security practices and incident response strategies.


So Let’s Summarize What We’ve Learned So Far


There are plenty more different types of cyber attacks and prevention techniques involving game systems. While we’ve only barely scratched the surface, I believe it’s safe to say that we now have a basic idea of what is happening. At the end of the day, people indulge in gaming for entertainment. So the gaming industry needs to prevent a scenario where it becomes a threat to players’ financial and mental well-being, resulting in users seeking other safer modes of entertainment. To summarize cybersecurity is a crucial consideration for game producers. Developers should aim to create games that are both secure and entertaining to play by taking a proactive approach on security, prioritizing essential security features, using user-centered design, communicating effectively, testing and iterating, and cooperating with security specialists, to create a safe and enjoyable environment for all. 

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