Vulnerabilities / Threats
3/11/2010
07:02 PM
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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.

Among the possible defenses, Wyatt suggests 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.

He stressed using two-channel authentication -- using a PC and mobile phone for example -- rather than two-factor authentication -- a hardware device for a code entered through a PC -- because gaming trojans on PCs can intercept two-factor authentication codes. Using two channels means that even if the PC is compromised, a hacker would still have to have malware on the user's phone to intercept the mobile communication.

Wyatt also advised having source code on a separate network, having strong authentication for developers and operations personnel, and investing in physical site security.

Wyatt is not a big fan of DRM solutions, like nProtect GameGuard and Blizzard's Warden, which he said are essentially rootkits. "Nobody likes being spied on," he said.

In addition to considering security measures, game companies should also think about ways to improve business operations that may affect security, Wyatt suggested. Legalizing and overseeing in-game currency trading to reduce fraud, as Eve has done with its PLEX system, was one example he cited.

Another example is being nice to employees and paying them fairly. "I've heard a number of horror stories about working in the game industry...when people figure out they're not being treated well, they may take it out on you...give them profit sharing," he said.

Companies should expect to be hacked, he said, and security through obscurity is not security. The only answer, he stressed, is defense in depth, giving the security team insight into all areas of the business, and striving to continually watch for problems.

InformationWeek's GDC Coverage:

GDC: OnLive Takes Gaming To The Cloud

GDC: Sony Unveils PS3 Motion Controller

GDC: Microsoft Surface Plays Dungeons & Dragons

GDC: iPhone Developers Face Hidden Risks

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