Last updated on April 17th, 2023 at 12:56 am
We’re currently in the biggest era of gaming since home computers and consoles were first introduced into mainstream culture last Century. Currently, the global gaming industry is worth over $300 billion, with 2.9 billion people all over the world playing games on a regular basis.
In the 21st Century, much of our gaming activities take place in the digital realm, be they online multiplayer RPGs, mobile games or even online versions of brick-and-mortar classics like roulette or chess. With many online games becoming ‘persistent worlds’, gaming is more immersive on a global scale than it’s ever been before.
In this age of instant gameplay and with digital connections being made on a massive global scale, how are gaming companies protecting the integrity of player data?
Security Goals of Online Games
Until the online gaming revolution, designers and programmers were largely concerned with ways to make their games more innovative. Over the years, each new iteration of video games has brought distinct challenges. However, online gaming has brought an entirely new set of challenges that affect all entities within the gaming industry ecosystem.
Game security is paramount, not only in terms of maintaining player safety but also in ensuring fully operational gaming experiences. A design flaw that lowers the security of the game doesn’t just open the way for breaches; it also negatively impacts the gameplay experience.
Therefore, gaming operators should always keep their main security goals in mind:
- Protecting sensitive player data
- Providing a provably fair playing field
- Preventing malware attacks on individual devices and across larger networks
Identifying Areas of Concern
In gaming, as with all tech industries, cybersecurity threats can often be linked to data manipulation or outright appropriation. Once hackers can gain access to the sensitive information of individual gamers, they can utilise it in multiple ways, not least of which includes trading and selling the data or using it to commit identity fraud.
Phishing is typically associated with threats to email cybersecurity, but it can also impact online gaming sectors, particularly mobile gaming. Mobile games are currently leading the way at the forefront of gaming, with the segment accounting for 52% of total industry revenues. There are more mobile gamers than there are PC and console gamers combined, making it a huge market that is vulnerable to attack.
Additionally, malware attacks can disrupt the functions of entire gaming networks by hacking devices, systems and gaming records. The MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) and RPG (Role Playing Games) genres are especially vulnerable to malware attacks since such games involve heavy map use and are continually updated with new mods.
How Gaming Markets Strengthen Cybersecurity
It goes without saying that all games produced in the modern era are designed with player safety and security in mind from day one. Airtight security is as fundamental to the longevity of 21st-century games as immersive tech and engaging gameplay and is something that development studios and publishing houses invests plenty of resources into.
On a basic level, all games that you can interact with and play via a web browser are hosted on websites encrypted with Transport Layer Security (TLS), formerly known as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). Encrypted websites scramble any and all data input into them, from player names to their financial information, preventing other parties from accessing or utilising it.
Gaming operators and designers also prevent fraud or cheating during gameplay by integrating Random Number Generator (RNG) technology in the game development process. RNGs are unbreakable software algorithms linked to specific game actions, such as the spin of a roulette wheel or the firing of a weapon and ensure that the outcome is randomised and unpredictable.
Empowering Gamers to Prioritise Security
While the onus on keeping gamers safe and secure online is rightly placed on the game developer or operator, individual players must prioritise the safety and security of their information too.
Making full use of tools like anti-virus software and VPNs is one of the most effective ways for gamers to protect the integrity of their data, ensuring maximum enjoyment when engaging with digital games.
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