We are currently in the golden age of gaming. The industry has evolved considerably since the days of arcade gaming just a few decades ago. From video games to online gaming platforms, mobile gaming apps to eSports tournaments, the gaming industry is home to tech-fuelled, diverse markets. Due to massive surges in the popularity of key gaming markets over the past 24 months, the global industry is expected to be worth up to $180 billion by the end of 2021.
Given the prominence that connective technologies like the internet have in the industry as it is today, gaming is far from immune to cybersecurity threats. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the challenges faced by the industry and the technology that’s used to combat cybercrime across different gaming markets.
The Threats to Cybersecurity in the Gaming Industry
According to new research, during 2020 the global video gaming industry was breached by over 240 million cybersecurity attacks. Representing a 340% increase over the statistics of 2019, this not only shows the potential for ongoing substantial growth in the industry, but also gives an indication of how prolific cyber attacks can be.
According to Computer Weekly, which first reported the latest statistics, SQL injection was the top attack vector in 2020. Targeting both player login credentials and personal details, SQL injection represented “59% of all attacks against the gaming industry”. Local file inclusion attacks that target sensitive data in gaming apps and services, meanwhile, represented 24% of gaming-related cyberattacks, while cross-site scripting accounted for 8%.
Guidelines for Combating Cybercrime in the Gaming Industry
Online gaming accounts, whether with industry giants like Microsoft or the more niche online gaming platforms, require users to submit sensitive personal and financial information. To keep gamers safe and reduce the impact of sensitive information being targeted, gaming providers need to implement rigorous security protocols.
Some of the measures that gaming companies use to combat cybercrime include:
- Multi-factor authentication when creating and signing-in to digital gaming accounts
- PCI DSS compliance
- Protection against DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks that disrupt online gaming experiences
- Embedding security in the full lifecycle of game development
- Protection against in-game phishing
How Technology Keeps Gamers Safe
Being as technologically innovative as it is, it makes sense for the gaming industry to utilise the latest cybersecurity methods to keep gamers safe and secure.
Multi-factor authentication, which works by using 2 to 4 different parameters to electronically confirm a user’s identity, is becoming increasingly more sophisticated with the application and integration of AI (Artificial Intelligence) into processes. Automated deep learning can analyse data on an ongoing basis, helping gaming companies detect threats or unauthorised activities at the moment of inception.
Transport Layer Security (TLS) is cryptographic technology that has succeeded SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) in providing on-page encryption for gaming websites across the board. The tech works by turning the sensitive personal or financial data entered onto a webpage into unbreakable code, which is rendered gibberish to any hacker that attempts to intercept it.
A unique factor that needs to be taken into account when it comes to real money gaming is the security and integrity of the games themselves. Unlike game streaming services like Steam, iGaming operators need to apply for licences from gaming authorities in order to operate in certain jurisdictions. Licences need to be renewed periodically and are only granted when an operator can demonstrate adherence to stringent conditions.
Ensuring that games are provably fair is a key condition to being granted a licence, and operators achieve this by integrating RNGs into their gaming platforms. RNGs, or Random Number Generators, are a core part of the technology powering casino games like online slots.
They are software algorithms that ensure the outcome of any game is completely random. Operators are required to test their RNGs using independent providers to ensure their security hasn’t been compromised, and many choose to publish details about the ISO standards their RNG meets.
Some gaming manufacturers have even gone one step further and introduced security measures into gaming hardware. Intel, for example, pioneered the Sixth-generation vPro Chip back in 2016, which featured powerful user authentication embedded directly into the hardware itself.