Cyber Security Issues and the Computer Games Industry

By   Ryan Farmer
, SHL Group | Feb 16, 2015 05:04 pm PST

Hacking has started 2015 much as anyone in the cyber security industry would have expected. From US Military Command accounts to phone calls, it seems that nothing is untouchable. In much the same way, the computer games industry is also a valid target for cyber criminals.

Hacking around the Christmas tree

The vulnerability of games consoles to hacking has been highlighted a number of times in recent years, though this was clearly showcased on Christmas Day.
With hundreds and thousands of people waiting with eagerness to put their new Xboxs and Playstations to the test, they found they could not – the systems had been hacked. With the ire of console gamers raised, thousands took to Twitter and other social media platforms to vent their frustrations. The situation dragged on and, despite both networks saying that normal service would be resumed shortly, the problem did not appear to be resolved as quickly as some gamers would have liked.

One Sony customer, Sho Shallow, took to Twitter saying:
“Finally my PlayStation is working. You lot robbed my Xmas.”

Similar grumblings were directed at Microsoft, with gaming enthusiast Steh Abner tweeting:
“Woke up in a good mood, but I still can’t get on Xbox, so I am not in a good mood.”

Just for fun
The reasons given for the hack would likely annoy the gaming fraternity too, with someone claiming to be one of the hackers in a news interview saying it was “sort of a game”. The speaker, who is believed to be a member of The Lizard Squad, went on to say the hack was carried out by just two or three ‘kids’ aged under 20. As well as admitting that the perpetrators carried out the attack to amuse themselves, the speaker – going by the name of Ryan – said it was a question of raising awareness in regards to how easily the systems of even the biggest gaming companies can be attacked. He said:

“They should have more than enough funding to be able to protect against these attacks. And if they can’t protect against the attacks on their core business networks then I don’t think they’re really doing that much on their overall level of security.And these customers are still giving these companies their credit card numbers and such.” 

It is not just customer credit card details that games industry firms need to be aware of though, as there are many other items of information that they regularly collect and collate. All personally identifiable data is, after all, valuable underground. Home address information, date of birth details and personal interest information is all incredibly lucrative to the cyber criminals. With gamers coming from a wide ranging group, their data is all the more attractive. This is particularly so for the largest demographic, males aged between 18 and 30. The gaming accounts themselves, as well as in-game purchases, can also command high fees. It is not all about the money though, and nor is it all about the fun. There are many reasons as to why the gaming industry can be targeted. From state-sponsored disruption to just kids having a bit of fun, there are many issues proving that firms need to ensure they have robust cyber security recruitment processes in place.

[su_box title=”About Ryan Farmer” style=”noise” box_color=”#336588″]

Ryan FarmerRyan Farmer has worked at Acumin for the past five and a half years as a Senior Consultant and now a Senior Resourcer. With a strong understanding of the InfoSecurity industry and the latest market developments, Ryan sources leading information security candidates for some of the world’s largest End User security teams, start up security vendors and global consultancies.Ryan is heavily involved in the Risk and Network Threat forum, has a keen interest in Mobile Security and is an active blogger and InfoSec writer.[/su_box]


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