Cyber Security for the eSports Industry
Cyber Security for the eSports Industry in Australia
The eSports industry in Australia has rapidly gained popularity and recognition, attracting millions of players, spectators, and significant investments. As the industry relies heavily on digital platforms, online competitions, and virtual interactions, it becomes crucial to prioritise cyber security. Implementing robust security measures is essential to protect players’ personal information, ensure fair gameplay, maintain the integrity of eSports events, and safeguard the reputation of the industry as a whole.
Why Does the eSports Industry Need Cyber Security?
The gaming industry is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing entertainment sectors. The market is estimated to be worth $240 billion globally in 2020 and to reach $294 billion in 2024. In Australia, the demand for digital games is expected to reach $6 billion in 2022 with a forecast growth of 9%.
According to a report released by Akamai Technologies, there has been a significant surge in cyber attacks on player accounts and gaming companies in recent years. The report highlights a staggering 167% increase in web application attacks, posing a serious threat to gamers and their sensitive data. Additionally, a Kaspersky Lab found a 13% increase in malicious software attacks on games in the first half of 2022 compared with the first half of 2021. These attacks can have severe consequences, ranging from stolen personal information to compromised financial details, putting players at risk of identity theft, financial fraud, and other cyber crimes. A recent attack on the gaming Rockstar demonstrated network intrusion by which an attacker gained was able to infiltrate Rockstars internal slack channel, pretend to be a member of the IT team and, as a result, gained access to login credentials. This attack lead to confidential files from the gaming firm being leaked causing significant losses.
What Types of Attacks are the eSports Industry Vulnerable to?
The eSports industry faces various cyber threats that exploit vulnerabilities in its digital infrastructure. Some common types of attacks include:
DDoS Attacks: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks aim to overwhelm eSports platforms or tournament servers with a flood of traffic, rendering them inaccessible to players and viewers.
Account Takeovers: Cyber criminals target eSports players’ accounts, attempting to gain unauthorised access, steal valuable in-game assets, or engage in fraudulent activities.
Cheating and Hacking: eSports games often suffer from cheating and hacking attempts, where malicious individuals use aimbots, wallhacks, or other unauthorised tools to gain an unfair advantage.
Phishing and Social Engineering: eSports players and enthusiasts can fall victim to phishing attacks, where deceptive emails, messages, or websites trick them into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial details.
Malware Infections: Malicious software, including keyloggers or spyware, can be distributed through phishing emails, malicious downloads, or compromised gaming websites, infecting players’ devices and compromising their privacy and security.
Why is the eSports Industry Targeted by Cyber Criminals?
The eSports industry attracts the attention of cyber criminals for several reasons:
Valuable In-Game Assets: eSports games often feature valuable virtual items, skins, or currencies that can be bought, sold, or traded. Cyber criminals target these assets for financial gain, attempting to steal or exploit them.
Prize Money and Sponsorships: eSports tournaments offer substantial prize pools, attracting cyber criminals who seek to manipulate results or gain unfair advantages to secure lucrative rewards. Additionally, the industry’s growing sponsorship deals and brand partnerships make it an attractive target for malicious actors seeking to disrupt or exploit these relationships.
Large Player Base: With millions of players actively engaged in eSports, cyber criminals have a vast pool of potential targets. Exploiting vulnerabilities in the digital ecosystem allows them to target individual players, compromise their accounts, or engage in fraudulent activities on a larger scale.
What Security Controls Should the eSports Industry Have?
To enhance cyber security in the eSports industry, organisations and players should implement the following security controls:
Strong Authentication: Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for player accounts to add an extra layer of security and prevent unauthorised access.
Regular Software Updates: Keep gaming software, applications, and operating systems up to date to patch security vulnerabilities and protect against known exploits.
Secure Network Infrastructure: eSports organisations should implement robust firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and encryption protocols to protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorised access.
Player Education: Educate eSports players about the importance of cyber security and provide guidance on best practices, such as avoiding suspicious links, using strong passwords, and being cautious of social engineering tactics.
Incident Response Planning: Develop and regularly test an incident response plan to ensure a swift and effective response to cyber security incidents, minimising potential damages and facilitating recovery.
What are the Security Obligations in the eSports Industry?
The eSports industry in Australia has specific security obligations to protect players, sponsors, and the integrity of eSports events. These obligations may include:
Privacy Protection: eSports organisations must comply with relevant privacy laws and regulations to safeguard players’ personal information. This includes implementing appropriate data protection measures, obtaining consent for data collection and usage, and ensuring secure storage and handling of player data.
Fair Play and Anti-Cheating Measures: eSports organisations should enforce strict rules and regulations to ensure fair competition and prevent cheating. This may involve using anti-cheat software, monitoring gameplay for suspicious activities, and taking appropriate disciplinary actions against offenders.
Secure Online Platforms: eSports platforms and websites should implement robust security measures to protect against cyber threats, such as DDoS attacks, data breaches, and account compromises. This includes regular security audits, encryption of sensitive data, and secure payment processing systems.
Age Verification and Protection: As eSports attract a wide range of players, including minors, organisations should have mechanisms in place to verify the age of participants and provide appropriate safeguards to protect underage players from potential online risks.
Collaboration with Law Enforcement: eSports organisations should work closely with law enforcement agencies and cyber security experts to share information, report incidents, and collaborate on investigations related to cyber attacks or illegal activities within the industry.
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