Gaming & Entertainment
Securing Gaming User Accounts With Fraud Detection And Suspicious Activity Notification
By Rabo James Bature
As the industry continues to grow, gaming is becoming a way for users to make money in addition to being a form of entertainment. Gamers need to be able to track and save their progress to qualify for prize money, esports league salaries, or sponsorships, as well as add to their streaming content or videos on demand. Their unique user accounts are vital to their success.
Just like other virtual accounts, though, gaming accounts need to be secured from fraudulent activities. These accounts contain users’ personal and financial information, and a security breach can expose this information. This can damage your company’s reputation and cause legal problems.
In this guide, you’ll learn more about securing gaming accounts and some best practices for doing so.
Why Should You Secure Gaming Accounts?
Video gaming is a popular pastime, but gaming platforms and user accounts have recently come under attack by cybercriminals. In a recent example, a report by Kaspersky notes that BloodyStealer, an advanced Trojan horse sold on the dark web, is being used to target accounts on popular gaming sites. This malware steals account information such as session data, login details, and credit card details for reselling on underground forums.
These types of attacks are not exclusive to gaming platforms, but the increase in such attacks on gamers shows the growing demand for such data among cybercriminals. Since these attacks are likely to continue, it’s important that you secure your gaming platform.
How Do Attacks Threaten Users?
There are a number of reasons why you need to protect your users from attacks.
Threat to Personal Data
Gaming platform accounts hold details on each user’s age, gender, nationality, location, and other personal details. According to FinancesOnline, there were 2.69 billion game players worldwide in 2020, and based on the 5.6 percent year-on-year growth rate, this figure could rise to 3.07 billion by 2023. That’s billions of people whose personal data is gathered by gaming platforms. A breach at that scale could be catastrophic for users and businesses alike.
Users whose information is leaked or stolen may pursue legal action against your company. Users who think their personal information isn’t safe with you won’t use your platform. In either case, your company could lose a significant amount of business.
Threat to Financial Data
There is a significant amount of money involved in online gaming, especially in esports. In March 2022, for example, the winners of the ePremier League tournament were awarded £30,000 GBP (roughly $37,000 USD). Cash rewards are common among gaming platforms, which gives gamers’ accounts real-world value.
In addition, gaming platforms often require users to provide credit card details or other financial information for online or in-game purchases or to withdraw funds earned from playing. Since this links users’ banking or other financial accounts to gaming accounts, any compromise to gaming accounts will expose users’ financial information as well.
How to Secure Gaming Accounts
In order to protect users as well as your company, you need to know current security practices in fraud detection and suspicious activity notification. The following are tools and best practices to use for more secure gaming accounts.
With multi-factor authentication (MFA), the account user is required to provide two or more verification factors in order to gain access to the account. This method of authentication is used for many different types of online accounts.
In addition to a username and password, MFA requires an additional means of authentication such as a biometric solution (like a fingerprint or retina scan) or a temporary one-time password (OTP). This protects users’ login information from brute force attacks.
Using MFA, you can request one of three types of additional information from users. These types include:
- Something the user knows, such as the account password or PIN
- Something the user has, such as a verified digital badge, PC, smartphone, or digital game console
- Something the user is, such as a biometric ID
What kind of additional factor makes sense for your users depends on their demographic and device. You should also make varying kinds of factors available, as the casual game player might want something easy to use like SMS whereas the professional esport player, with a more valuable account, will want a more secure factor such as a biometric ID tied to their phone.
Learn more about Multi-Factor Authentication.
Not only can you monitor users’ login details, but you can also monitor where they’re logging in from. IP addresses can be mapped to physical locations. While this mapping is never perfect and can be thwarted by VPNs, it is usually good enough to provide an additional layer of assurance.
Adaptive authentication, an AI-based authentication method, monitors account login activity in real time and alerts you or the account holder if someone tries to log in from an unregistered device or an unusual location. For example, if a user logs in from one country and then logs in again from a different country an hour later, that should trigger an “impossible travel” alert.
If a user’s location is new or changes frequently, your adaptive authentication tool will assess the threat level. If the login attempt is deemed to be suspicious, the user will be asked to confirm the attempt by providing additional authentication information before being granted access. This can include forcing a new authentication, providing an additional factor of authentication, completing a CAPTCHA and more.
In modern gaming platforms, gamers can access and play games using different endpoint devices, which makes it practically impossible to manage your network securely using network monitoring alone. To improve your network security, you can use event logs, or files that contain critical information about operating system, application, or device usage.
Event logs monitor suspicious account activity, such as a login from a new device, multiple login attempts, a password reset request, or a multi-factor update. Users are notified of suspicious activity and asked to confirm that they performed the actions.
A gaming account can be configured to automatically log out after sitting idle for a set number of minutes or hours. Session timeouts like this prevent attackers from accessing an account that is still logged in on a user’s device.
The gaming industry is just as vulnerable to malicious attacks and data breaches as other industries. In order to protect your users and your company, you need to implement security practices so that hackers can’t gain access to your users’ financial or personal information.
If you follow the best practices listed above, you’ll help ensure your users’ security and further enhance your company’s reputation as a safe, trustworthy place to play online games.