Gaming companies collect data concerning user behavior for a variety of reasons: to inform investment and content decisions, enable game and advertisement personalization, and improve gameplay, to name a few. However, the data available provides a daunting task for those attempting to make use of it, as well as a ripe target for attackers. Effectively utilizing and protecting this data can be a challenge, especially as the volume of gaming data increases over time. Data breaches can be devastating, costing millions of dollars and causing significant damage to the organization’s reputation. Fortunately, there are measures a company can take to prevent cyberattacks and protect data.
Gaming Developer Risks and Challenges
The capture and use of player data carries both security risks and more general difficulties. According to a recent survey, 32% of gaming executives state that making use of the data collected by their companies is a major challenge. Furthermore, 47% cite mitigating cyber risks as a key challenge today, while 58% say it will be a key challenge in three years. Many companies are enacting measures to help with this challenge, including hiring new employees with relevant skills (47%) and forging partnerships with third-party cybersecurity firms (39%). Cybersecurity risks are a serious consideration for gaming companies, and with solid cybersecurity practices like those below, organizations can protect their sensitive data.
In recent years, there have been several attacks on high-profile gaming companies. From a Nippon Ichi Software attack that led many customer credit card numbers to be stolen to attackers compromising ASUS networks to plant malware code inside games, to a Capcom data breach, these incidents are significant on their own and indicative of the risks to all gaming companies. According to Oliver Green, creator of autoclicker.io, gaming companies are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks looking to take advantage of an organization’s financial state, and it is vital for these companies to take steps to “protect their intellectual property, data, and the integrity of their games.”
Tips for Preventing Cyberattacks
1. Security Training
One of the most important factors in protecting against cyberattacks is maintaining a good foundation of cybersecurity training for employees. A significant portion of cybersecurity incidents can be attributed to mistakes made by insiders out of ignorance or negligence. Training developers and other staff in cybersecurity (the threat landscape, scams to watch out for, best practices for data security and secure coding, and company security policies) is important to prevent these mistakes. Security training should be updated regularly and emphasize the role that employees play in preventing cybersecurity incidents.
2. Access Control
Managing access to systems, accounts, devices, and networks is vital to keep data from being breached or leaked. Access to sensitive information, essential systems, and other company assets and resources should be restricted to authorized personnel only. Practicing the principle of least privilege ensures that sensitive data is not accessible to users unless it is required for their role in the company, thus reducing the chances of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.
3. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
The use of multi-factor authentication, while strongly encouraged for customers and individuals, should be mandated and enforced by companies for employees. All of an organization’s accounts, including developer accounts, should utilize this feature to decrease the likelihood of data or systems becoming compromised. MFA provides an additional layer of security to prevent malicious outsiders from using stolen devices, stolen credentials, brute force, or credential stuffing to access internal accounts and steal, delete, or leak sensitive enterprise data.
4. Data Encryption
It is highly recommended for companies to ensure that sensitive data is properly encrypted in transit and at rest. If an organization’s data is protected by an encryption protocol, it becomes extremely difficult—or impossible—for bad actors to steal that data. If encrypted data is intercepted in transit or stolen at rest, a cybercriminal cannot read it, making it largely unprofitable for them. Not all encryption is created equal, and it is important to ensure that the encryption in use provides adequate protection.
5. Secure APIs
Companies that make use of application programming interfaces (APIs) in their games should make it a priority to ensure that their APIs are secure and utilize adequate authentication mechanisms. API security is a major cybersecurity concern for all kinds of businesses, and gaming companies can benefit from putting the work in to establish and maintain a solid API security strategy. API user authentication can use a number of different technologies, from usernames and passwords to tokens.
Protecting an organization and its assets against cyberattacks can be an overwhelming prospect, and this is no less true for gaming companies. Handling massive amounts of player data and using it to improve content is effective as a business strategy, but it carries with it the risk of that data being breached. Bad actors are always looking for victims that will yield a high payout, and gaming companies’ profit margins and the abundance of data available make them a prime target. Using the above tips, along with other cybersecurity solutions and best practices, a company can take the necessary steps to protect against these attacks.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire