Presented by Akamai
Game developers not only have to think about security from the start, but make sure it doesn’t affect game performance, either. Join VB’s Dean Takahashi and a panel of pros to learn how to lock out hackers, protect your users, and future proof your security from evolving threats at this VB Live event.
“Games and game studios have huge followings, but players need to trust the developer,” says Lonnye Bower, COO of ProbablyMonsters. “That trust is important, as it results in players investing time and loyalty toward the game and to the studio.”
Players want to trust that their game is safe, that the time and money they’ve spent on leveling and developing their characters and teams has been worthwhile, but that can all be undercut in a moment by bad actors finding ways to exploit a game, and reveling in being the first to find that exploit.
In that sense, the game industry isn’t less defended against hacker attacks, Bower says, but more susceptible to the cheaters.
“In gaming, you’re finding that players are seeking to exploit the game and really build their own reputation and credentials as being able to break into games,” Bower says. “They’re bragging about it. They’re tweeting about it. They’re posting videos about it so that others can see that they did it and try to follow and gain the same rewards of whatever the exploit is.”
For those people, that in and of itself is winning for them. As far as the impact to the company, it could be argued that an exploit that gives a player some kind of fancy in-game item, even if it’s in unlimited supply, has no direct financial impact to the game directly.
But players are unhappy when the playing field becomes clearly unlevel — and they’re even more unhappy when bad actors appear flourishing very sought-after, very rare, or very difficult-to-acquire items that players have invested a lot of time in trying to get themselves. The market value of those items vanishes while significantly undercutting a big part of the fun of these games.
The damage to players could go even further, however. Avid gamers spend a lot of time in their games, often pairing up with other players to explore and tackle challenges. But what happens when an innocent player teams up with a hacker who’s trying to exploit the system? When they’re caught, the innocent player gets swept up in the damage control, and then ends up being banned from playing.
And of course all of this significantly impacts the reputation of the company, the reputation of the brand, and again, loss of trust from your players.
Addressing these issues also puts a financial and time burden on the company — the company needs to spend time to determine the risk associated with the exploit and address it while doing as little harm as possible to the game itself and the innocent bystanders.
The simplest solution for companies is banning players, because it requires less time and development to address the problem reactively — but again, the collateral damage is significant. Proactively, it’s important for the company to build an architecture that can monitor and alert for potential exploits.
More importantly, as we head into 2020, technology is becoming more and more sophisticated, and companies really need to start thinking about security right from the start, from inception of the game ideas through the development life cycle — because there is a solution to address security issues and prevent future attacks at every stage. It simply requires a strategy and imagination.
“Always explore all scenarios, be open-minded, and when you’re imagining the least likely thing that could happen, try to put yourself in a place where it actually does happen,” Bower says. “Chances are, it will happen, or someone’s thinking about it before you even say it won’t ever happen.”
Don’t miss out!
- How to protect your game and players from a growing amount of online security threats
- The latest trends in credential abuse and account hacks in gaming
- How web attacks are evolving and where they are headed in the future
- How to integrate security best practices with the rest of the game for best performance
- Jonathan Singer, Senior Manager, Global Games Industry, Akamai Technologies
- Scott Adams, Founder & CEO, FraudPVP
- Lonnye Bower, COO, ProbablyMonsters
- Steve Ragan, Sr.Technical Writer, Akamai Technologies
- Dean Takahashi, Lead Gaming Writer, VentureBeat