Game developers Vs. Cybercriminals

Cybersecurity has been a serious issue for online gaming companies, as well as any online business. The question is: Who gets affected the most? During last week's Game Developers Conference in San Fransisco, various accounts of run ins with hackers showed that online gaming gets hit the hardest. Based on the revelations, it was shown that online gaming companies still haven't come to terms with how clued up hackers, cheaters, griefers, and cybercriminals actually are

The potential ramifications for gaming companies are significant: degradation of the play environment, fraud prevention technology integration costs, customer support costs, billing transaction costs, billing charge-back fees (from stolen credit cards used to open accounts), fines from credit card brands, enforcement false positives (turning away legitimate customers), and problems selling digital goods.

At the Game Developers Conference last Wednesday afternoon, Patrick Wyatt (worked on Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, Guild Wars, and Aion), COO of En Masse Entertainment, recounted his extensive experience with hackers, cheaters, griefers, and cybercriminals in an effort to help game developers understand that game security can't be an afterthought.

"Hacking games is as easy to do now as it was 20 years ago," Wyatt lamented, pointing to the recently released blockbuster Modern Warfare 2, which is vulnerable to a character speed hack.

Wyatt suggested possible defenses, which includes: device fingerprinting, proxy detection, phishing site detection and takedown, transaction reviews, telephone verification, shipping address verification, two-channel authentication, and use of game analytics to watch for unusual behavior, having source code on a separate network, having strong authentication for developers and operations personnel, and investing in physical site security.

At last week's Game Developers Conference, accounts of run ins with hackers have shown many gaming firms haven't grasped how cybercrime can ruin everything.

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