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It is dangerous these days to be a careless gamer. The research of the people at Akamai anything but confirms it. Attacks by cybercriminals on player accounts and gaming companies are on the rise. From May 2021 to April 2022, the number of attacks on web applications has increased by as much as 167%.
Web application attacks, to unravel it, are the things that come to mind when someone talks about being hacked, like a phishing email. But they can get more complicated than that, like SQL injection attacks. That’s like poking into a website database over and over to force it to respond.
The top three web application attacks this year are: LFI attacks (38%), SQLi attacks (34%) and XSS attacks (24%). DDOS attacks also increased by 5% this year. There were 821,648,208 attacks against web applications this year, in the gaming industry alone.
The question is why is there such an increase? The answer? It’s money. It’s always about the money.
Cyber criminals use these types of attacks to breach game systems and accounts, giving them access to player credentials, passwords, account information, and more. By accessing back-end databases, they can create cheats in games, then turn around and sell. They can quietly manipulate in-game economies for their own ends, usually in pursuit of real money.
It’s not just silent manipulation either. Once hackers have a stash of player login credentials, they can use those accounts as throwaway ads. I’m sure we’ve all seen accounts selling gold in MMOs. It’s all part of the scam.
The future looks like a problem
Akamai’s research suggests that the industry’s pursuit of cloud gaming could cause problems in the future. Cloud services offer a larger attack field; instead of a single game, hackers can hit all games on the service.
So what can gamers do? Well, honestly, it’s a lot of the same tips and tricks we already use. Do not click on suspicious email links. Do not visit unsecured websites. Turn on two-step verification.
In particular, app-based two-factor authentication. It didn’t do anyone any good if you receive email codes and your email is breached. Keep your fingers crossed that the games and services you use protect themselves.
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