Gaming Sector Cyber-Attacks Up 167% in Last 12 Months

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Cyber-attacks in the gaming sector have increased by 167% in the last year, according to a new report by cybersecurity firm Akamai.

Titled Gaming Respawned, the research also found that the United States is the main target of attackers, followed by Switzerland, India, Japan, the United Kingdom and other nations throughout Europe and Asia. 

Additionally, the Akamai report claimed gaming is the industry hit by the most distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks globally, accounting for 35% of all DDoS traffic worldwide.

“As gaming activity has increased and evolved, so has the value of disrupting it through cyber-attacks,” explained Jonathan Singer, Akamai’s senior strategist, media and  entertainment industries.

 “Cyber-criminals typically disrupt live services and co-opt credentials to steal gaming assets. Also, with the industry’s expansion into cloud gaming, new threat surfaces have opened up for attackers by bringing in new players who are prime targets for bad actors.”

More generally, Akamai said they have observed some key trends since their last report on threats in the gaming industry.

The first relates to the fact that the gaming industry shows no signs of slowing down from the boost that COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing gave to gaming. 

Secondly, cyber-criminals have continued perpetrating their attacks on gamers and game platforms, with web application attacks having more than doubled over the past year. In this regard, attacks comprise three key attack vectors: LFI, SQLi and XSS. DDoS and ransomware also remained major threats, according to Akamai.

Further, while the growth of cloud gaming seems to keep growing, so does the game industry’s overall attack surface. 

“Plus, the growth of other lucrative aspects of the gaming industry will continue to attract bad actors,” read the report.

Microtransactions, for example, represent a huge draw for criminals who can capitalize on the spending power of gamers and the fungible nature of virtual assets, according to the report. 

“Cyber-criminals know there is value in gaming, and they will continue to invent ways of getting it or exploiting the flow of virtual funds.”

The report comes roughly a year after hackers stole a wealth of data from gaming giant Electronic Arts (EA).

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