In the past two years, when the lockdown became a worldwide thing, people turned to entertainment to make their lives easier. Among all these distractions, gaming was leading the market, and more streamers were going live and playing certain types of games. But like almost any industry, the pandemic offered hackers more openness, and most businesses suffered from cyberattacks and data breaches.
Why the Gaming Industry Should Pay More Attention to Security
As alarming as it sounds, security still isn’t properly assessed, and such situations keep happening due to the weakness of the IT departments of some businesses; gaming is the most important of them all because it holds plenty of information about users. So, here’s why it should focus more on security development.
What are some specific security risks of gaming?
Now that gaming is this popular, millions of players worldwide are interested in online gaming, where they connect to servers simultaneously. This can be possible if they give away their data, including credit card details and identifiable information. So, they are vulnerable to credential-based attacks, where hackers are able to get such sensible data easily.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing much that can be done when a credential attack happens.
Aside from that, gaming businesses are prone to security breaches and fraud. Even big companies went through cyberattacks. Riot games that created League of Legends were under a DDoS attack back in 2012, which gravely affected players’ experience. A similar DDoS attack happened to Activision Blizzard in 2020.
Phishing schemes are also frequent when hackers leverage fake websites that are designed to look like trusted gaming platforms. This way, they access credit card numbers and login information. Then, there’s character and inventory theft, which most players pay for in order to make their gaming experience more enjoyable.
Phishing, in-game fraud and malware are used to get limited-edition characters (that have a high value) or expensive inventory items.
Flaws in gaming platforms
As video games started to merge with web services, the risk of attacks rose. Most platforms have tried to implement payment methods inside the systems. But this only made user information more vulnerable through their hosting via web services.
Another issue is that such platforms hold thousands of games, and security vulnerabilities are high even if it may seem convenient for the player.
For example, in 2020, one of the most popular third-party gaming platforms, Steam, experienced critical bugs after attackers were able to crash users’ games and even take over their computers. This can happen when security patches and updates are not up-to-date.
What can be done to avoid cyberattacks?
The power stands in the actions that players take to protect themselves. Gamers are not that aware of the security protocols online or how security breaches occur, so they don’t secure their web servers.
However, they still can do something to protect themselves. For example, getting 2GO Software can enhance security, and it’s available for most devices. It’s also important to get the official licences because the free options don’t usually include all the updates and, therefore, can only expose players to risks.
Norton Security provides affordable packages to ensure all levels of protection for up to ten devices, so people can easily avoid losing data due to common viruses.
Even if such software can shield users from hackers, the best thing they can do is remain vigilant on how they share information. For example, the most basic things someone can do to ensure security are to create complicated passwords, not use the same ones on more platforms and apps and activate two-factor authentication where possible.
Security prevention among businesses must come from within. After all, even employees make mistakes and don’t value security. What’s worse is that some gaming producers don’t have a cyber attack response plan, which is why most of them are getting back on their feet with difficulties. Therefore, limiting access to valuable data is the best they can do besides what we’ve previously discussed.
Some of the biggest attacks in the gaming industry
In gaming, there are three most-used practices for cyberattacks:
- SQL Injection is done by introducing a SQL command into a legitimate data entry field that attackers can use to have access to restricted data, modify it and much more. Epic Games, one of the biggest game production studios, experienced such an attack in 2006 when their forums were hacked, and 800.000 user accounts were leaked.
- Local File Inclusion tricks a web application to run or expose files on a web server. It usually leads to code execution on the web server, DDoS and sensitive information disclosure (the example of Riot Games).
- Cross-Site Scripting is similar to SQL due to the injection action, but malware scripts are introduced here on trusted websites. In 2020, Capcom was hit by a ransomware attack when hackers got into their systems and stole plenty of data, affecting around 350.00 people. They also released important information about the games that were supposed to come out in the next three years, so it was a devastating attack.
Among the biggest cyber attacks, we’ll also mention the PSN outage in 2011, when nearly 80 million registered accounts were compromised. Access to the service was blocked entirely, which made it among the worst attacks worldwide. Therefore, Sony was heavily affected financially but also had to comply with the multiple lawsuits.
Meanwhile, the most recent attack occurred at EA Games, when hackers stole source codes from the Frostbite engine to FIFA 21 by getting into their systems.
Over 780 GB of data was stolen, making it a large-scale attack. Hackers decided they wanted money in exchange for sensitive information, but the company didn’t comply, leading to an enormous data leak.
Wrapping it up
No one is 100% safe from data breaches and security attacks in this fast-pacing technology era. Hackers have more sophisticated practices than five years ago, and nothing stops them from attacking gaming studios.
But, by introducing basic safety measures and strengthening their security approach, companies are able to minimise the consequences of such events and maintain customers’ trust.