SECURITY OF ONLINE GAMES AND HOW IT CAN BE COMPROMISED
Online games aren’t new. Consumers have been playing them since as early as the 1990s. However, the market is evolving—games that used to require the computing power of dedicated desktops can now be powered by smartphones, and online gaming participation has skyrocketed.
Online gaming has gone through explosive growth in popularity during the last decade and continues to grow at a great speed. With this growth in popularity and thus in the number of players, the need for security also becomes increasingly clear.
MMOs are multiplayer video games capable of supporting a large number of players at the same time. They are played over the internet and contain one or more words that persist regardless of the presence of players. In MMOs, players can compete and cooperate, and interact with other people all over the world.
MMORPG’s are one of the main threat of hackings and scams since it uses currency for buying in-game items and sometimes players get scammed through communication.
A few years ago, cybersecurity scryers predicted that the video gaming industry would be the next big target of cybercriminals. Whether this will come true in the future or not, the average gamer may have little to no idea of what awaits them, much less be prepared for it.
Malware and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs)
Malware and PUPs have been the top-of-mind threats to online gamers and for a good reason. They come in many, many forms—key generators; game cracks; trainers; fake mobile game apps, and game installers consider that every conceivable software related to gaming might have a malicious equivalent in the wild.
Lastly, malware can affect gamers when they connect to infected servers. In the report, Study of the Belonard Trojan, exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities in Counter-Strike 1.6, security experts at Russian antivirus firm Doctor Web investigated Belonard, a Trojan that takes advantage of weaknesses in both Steam and pirated versions of Counter-Strike 1.6 (CS 1.6).
Steam users are probably more than familiar with the times when phishers used squatted domains to lure them into giving out their credentials to Steam or their favorite third-party trading site, like CS:GO Lounge
sleamcummunity.com and steamcornmunity.com were just two of several new domains that popped up, made to look like a Steam Community page, and used in several campaigns aiming to harvest Steam accounts. We believed that the stolen accounts could be used to lead more Steam users into giving away their credentials as well.
Similarly, a fake CS:GO Lounge domain was registered and mimicked the real trading and bidding site. Criminals behind it were also after Steam credentials. To rub salt to the wound, they even added a Trojan that pretended to be a Steam activation file.
Nowadays, we not only play on consoles or PCs but also our smartphones or tablets. Therefore, we must be careful and pay special attention to those fake apps masquerading as official games, updates, tricks, etc.
Since 2015, there have been various malicious mobile applications masquerading as well-known games, which perform different types of attacks on infected devices. Perhaps one of the most important cases has to do with an Android Trojan hidden among the games at Google Play, which allowed attackers to control devices remotely, thanks to its backdoor capabilities. By imitating games like Plants vs. Zombies 2 or Subway Surfers, it was mainly used to display ads on the compromised device.
WHY Security is needed
Some people may think that security isn’t a big deal when it comes to online gaming. The security of public locations is a big deal because some terrorists might bomb them. Security of a store is a big deal, because people might steal stuff, and a similar thing can be said about the security of digital products, such as software, movies, and music. Spider Solitaire Games are just there for fun and enjoyment, so why is it so important that they are secure as well?
The internet is undergoing explosive growth, bringing along lots of computer security issues. Online games suffer from these problems directly because of the way they are built.
Then there is the economy of World of Warcraft which is huge, and there are many possible ways to transfer real money into and out of the game… Lastly, there is the size of the game’s player base. A game this popular, using this architecture and having such a big economy, is extremely attractive for cheaters, hackers, and even criminals.