Operator talk: Gaming companies must take cybercrime threat seriously

Operator talk: Gaming companies must take cybercrime threat seriously

Friday, October 23, 2015 Totally Gaming
Prolexic Technologies said that DDos attacks can cause short- and long-term damage

Prolexic Technologies has warned gaming companies to take action to prevent cyber attacks or risk immediate costs and long-term brand damage.

Nelson Rodrigruez, senior marketing manager (games industry) at parent company Akamai, was speaking to TotallyGaming.com after online gambling platform provider EveryMatrix signed up to use technology solutions operator Prolexic’s distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection services.

EveryMatrix will integrate Prolexic’s service, which absorbs the “largest and most complex” DDoS attacks by protecting and restoring “mission-critical, internet-facing infrastructures for global enterprises and government agencies within minutes”.

Akamai’s recent ‘2015 State of the Internet – Security Report’ showed that some 35 per cent of DDoS attacks – when multiple systems overwhelm the bandwidth of a targeted network - were targeted against the gaming industry in Q2 2015, and Rodriguez said that operators must take the threat seriously.

“Prolexic is designed specifically to be able to protect the kind of traffic that makes up the backbone of the games industry, including multiplayer servers,” he said. “We do a lot to protect traditional websites and storefronts, but Prolexic is a common choice for gaming companies that also want to protect the multiplayer experience from disruption.

“The value to the games industry is significant, as just a few hours of a server being down can cost a company tens of thousands of dollars. That’s not even counting brand impact or losing players who never come back.”

The Akamai report found that DDoS incidents doubled between Q2 2014 and Q2 2015, with mega attacks up year-on-year and a 19 per cent rise in the duration of the attacks. An Incapsula survey estimated that the cost of a successful DDoS attack is an incredible $40,000 (€35,500) per hour.

Akamai said that it works with 23 of the top 25 games companies in the world, and more than 60 per cent of the top grossing iOS and Android game developers, and Rodriguez added that DDoS dangers are changing over time.

“We’ve been in the games space for a long time, and we see tremendous growth for us in every region,” said Rodriguez. “What we’re seeing now is that the games industry is the single most targeted industry on the Akamai network. The attacks are getting bigger and lasting longer as attackers continually evolve their techniques.

“We think that there’s a range of possible motives making games an attractive target, from extortion to disgruntled fans wanting to make a point. It’s also highly susceptible because legitimate traffic is already so massive, and player experiences can be hurt by just 100ms of additional delay.”

Rodriguez added that gamers themselves are becoming increasingly aware of network attacks, and customers’ concerns about the safety of their personal data and negative publicity cannot be ignored.

He said: “We recently conducted a player study in partnership with EEDAR. Some 86 per cent of players said that account hacks were a significant concern likely to cause them to avoid a game, while 71 per cent said they were unlikely to try a new game if they heard it had suffered a DDoS attack.

“This means there’s a lingering brand impact from being attacked, and hoping it doesn’t happen isn’t a very effective plan.”


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