Vulnerabilities / Threats
3/11/2010
07:02 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

GDC: Developers Vs. Cybercriminals

At the Game Developers Conference, accounts of run ins with hackers show many gaming firms haven't grasped how cybercrime can ruin everything.

Cybersecurity is a serious issue for any online business, but for online gaming companies it's doubly so.

Beyond issues of data protection, which are similar for any company that handles customer data, Internet gaming companies can be damaged by cyber attacks in a broader variety of ways than other companies.

Online retailers for example may suffer financially when they get hacked or hit with a denial of service attack, but damage to physical assets is likely to be insulated from online threats.

For operators of online games, however, hackers threaten not only revenue and user trust, but user experience and the intellectual property -- game source code -- upon which the business is built.

The ongoing exploitation of game bugs for fraud and cheating can be compared to altering Amazon.com so that links don't work, pages don't load, and recommendations don't fit users -- the result is a poor user experience that can drive customers away and limit both immediate and future revenue.

It can also raise support costs as frustrated players call to recover stolen game items or to deal with in-game problems.

At the Game Developers Conference on Wednesday afternoon, Patrick Wyatt, 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. Having worked on Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, Guild Wars, and Aion, he has seen his share of hacking.

"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.

And the incentive to hack games has risen as virtual goods have been embraced by the masses: Online games are like banks, but without regulations and expensive security measures. Gold farming and gold frauding -- undesirable and illegal methods respectively of amassing huge amounts of in-game currency for black market resale -- cause losses to the gaming industry of somewhere between $1 billion and $15 billion, Wyatt estimated, though he conceded that no one really has accurate figures.

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.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2010-5312
Published: 2014-11-24
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in jquery.ui.dialog.js in the Dialog widget in jQuery UI before 1.10.0 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the title option.

CVE-2012-6662
Published: 2014-11-24
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the default content option in jquery.ui.tooltip.js in the Tooltip widget in jQuery UI before 1.10.0 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the title attribute, which is not properly handled in the autocomplete combo box demo.

CVE-2014-1424
Published: 2014-11-24
apparmor_parser in the apparmor package before 2.8.95~2430-0ubuntu5.1 in Ubuntu 14.04 allows attackers to bypass AppArmor policies via unspecified vectors, related to a "miscompilation flaw."

CVE-2014-7817
Published: 2014-11-24
The wordexp function in GNU C Library (aka glibc) 2.21 does not enforce the WRDE_NOCMD flag, which allows context-dependent attackers to execute arbitrary commands, as demonstrated by input containing "$((`...`))".

CVE-2014-7821
Published: 2014-11-24
OpenStack Neutron before 2014.1.4 and 2014.2.x before 2014.2.1 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) via a crafted dns_nameservers value in the DNS configuration.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?