Protecting your games & gamers.

Hacking in games is a massive issue in the videogame industry and there’s many ways this can be a huge negative to your or my videogames. There’s hackers that can take down your server and bring your multiplayer game to a close; leak important and valuable information of your users; there’s hackers that jump on servers and cheat their way to victory (in the player verse player games); then there’s the players that edit files on singleplayer games to help themselves out and complete the game faster and with ease (or just to have fun).

There are many ways you can prevent hackers from ruining your videogame.

You can take the GTA San Andres approach and make cheating a nice feature through cheatcode, when you realise its an entertaining feature of your game. Although, then there’s the moral players that despise cheating (even if it’s accepted by the developers) and dislike when others do too, cause of ‘cheaters’ ruining stuff like speed running, achievement hunters, etc, for the more serious and fair players. So then you take the GTA V approach and still have cheatcode functionality but prevent the players from receiving Achievements and Trophies in the current play session and have to revert to a previous save file to continue unlocking. Although, you can encrypt your data files and make it hard (but never impossible) to alter.

The varying types and sources of cyber breaches.

The varying types and sources of cyber breaches.

Next up is preventing hackers from cheating In a multiplayer game. There are many ways you can do this. For one, you can monitor all players for abnormal behaviour and auto kick/ban them from your game server(s). This can be a speed check to make sure they’re not going faster than whats achievable, also there’s headshot checks you can do, this can be risky,. You can check to make sure they don’t hit 10 headshots in 5 seconds without getting banned. Although, a really good player that’s not cheating might be able to do that and get unrightfully banned. On-top of that, hackers have been know to have auto aims that are purposefully not as fast, you may very well have to submit a high headshot/accuracy player as suspicious and manually review their game to make the decision. also make a report functionality of course too for users to submit a report against a player.

A game that does the former well I believe is valve’s, CS:GO.

Data leaks are a far to common occurrence and have become a seemingly daily event. Passwords get leaked and stuff like inventory, stats, ect go missing on players; addresses, emails and the like get released to the public; Credit card info get exposed and players money get stolen as a result of your game.

These are all horrifying, yet a likely possibility to happen as a result of my potentially insecure games I could make. But how do you or I prevent this from happening?

Firstly, the server complex itself should be located in a locked area, since easy physical access to the machines circumvents all other security precautions. Each machine connected to the game needs to be secured, all game servers should be behind a firewall that only allows data through the ports that the game needs to operate. Have all saved data that need to be stored, encrypted.

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And what are some examples of what happens when you don’t protect your data.

- In 2003 on October 2nd, valves servers where compromised and half life 2 source code was stolen and leaked to the public. This set the project 13 months back for release.

- March 17, 2018, Facebook had at least 87 million users had people’s personalities, social networks, and engagement on the platform breached (although likely many more) and shared.

What Im going to do to protect my current game and future games from these risk is by:

  • Ensuring all data is encrypted and hard to decipher.

  • In Multiplayer games, make protocol checks to see if their stats aren’t unachievable and if they are, the player is kicked from the sever and banned from re-entering.

  • Be carful and have my severs are secure and locked up. Or the company that you hosting a server through has a security assurance.

  • Firewalls are in place and prevent intrusion.

In conclusion, hackers are everywhere, the more popular you game is, the more likely you game is to be hacked and exploited and make the experiences of other players worse. Making a system that is impenetrable to hackers is not only expensive, but unlikely to be truly impenetrable, hackers out there are incredibly smart and will find a way. So always make it hard so it isn’t easy to hack so it doesn’t happen a-lot and have procedures in place for when they occur.

References:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/131557/how_to_hurt_the_hackers_the_scoop_.php

https://blog.barkly.com/biggest-data-breaches-2018-so-far

http://combineoverwiki.net/wiki/Half-Life_2_leak