4 Gaming App Security Risks that Developers Need to Know

    Gaming App

    The risk of app modifications is mitigated by obfuscated code, which makes it difficult for game hackers to comprehend the core functioning of the gaming app.

    Out of all the apps, one can find at least one gaming app on every smartphone. Online games and video games are great fun but not threat-proof. There are many threats that online gaming apps face, including viruses, identity theft, and phishing attacks.

    Here are some security risks that every game developer must know:

    1. Reverse Engineering & Malware 

    Reverse engineering and Malware analysis are vital skills for developers who want to understand and fight threats. However, these practices also bring major risks, such as revealing sensitive data, infecting their system, or violating ethical or legal boundaries.

    The widely used gaming app is more vulnerable than others to malware intrusion and reverse engineering attempts. Hackers may reverse-engineer the gaming software’s fundamental design, game assets, code, and data assets and repackage them for marketing as a clone. The reputation of the original game is harmed by these fraudulent gaming apps, which are frequently plagued with malware.

    A gaming app named Minecraft, which was released in 2011 on multiple platforms, including PCs, consoles, and smartphones, has affected 228k users.

    As per a report by Atlas VPN, Minecraft is the most malware-infected game on the market with 228k users affected between July 2020 and July 2021, which is considered at the top of the most malware-infected games list in 2021.

    The most noticeable thing is that these problems were unrelated to official copies of Minecraft bought from reputable online or brick-and-mortar stores.

    Minecraft’s popularity made the game developers make heavy modifications to the games, which opened the option for the game players to download new content created by the game’s fans. Mods are unofficial and primarily unregulated, so that they can be loaded with undesirable and dangerous software.

    • Solution:

    They must use a specialized, isolated environment for malware analysis and reverse engineering. It is one of the most fundamental and significant safeguards one can take.

    This means they should use a different computer or virtual machine not connected to their network or the internet instead of the regular computer or personal computer.

    Developers can stop the malware from dispersing, communicating, or compromising the data in this way. In addition, they should frequently backup their environment and restore it to a fresh state following each analysis session.

    2. In-App Purchasing Flaws

    As many mobile games depend on in-app purchases for revenue generation, gamers did not secure their games from purchasing system security flaws that let hackers access add-on items and gaming functionalities for free.

    The popularity of the Pokémon Go game made gamers adopt the Android version via unofficial channels, which helped hackers successfully post malware-infected app versions in some file-sharing services.

    Smartphones with such infected malware are severe, and hackers can potentially copy and use the phone to commit crimes such as in-app purchasing frauds, social media posts, or emails on behalf of gamers.

    • Solution:

    Developers must use secure communication protocols, such as HTTPS. This offers data integrity and encryption for data exchanged between a mobile app and a server. This extra layer of security prevents man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.

    3. Payments Gateways Threat

    Errors in the in-app purchase system cost the business a million dollars. With convenient services, they bring some severe threats.

    Payment gateways occasionally may not function due to problems or server unavailability, just like any other software system. Businesses using a single provider cannot accept payments during these times and are forced to wait until the gateway is operational.

    Also, the payment process may expose sensitive information to hackers. This can lead to financial and reputational damage.

    • Solution:

    An intrusion detection system on the perimeter in front of the game application backend setup can help identify the critical points in the payment system.

    Reduce the likelihood of client-side hacking by using secure server-side application programming interfaces (APIs) to manage in-app transactions. A secure API ensures that private information is handled carefully and kept on the server where hackers cannot directly access it.

    These suggestions will secure the payment system and give enough time to solve a security breach. Since even obfuscated code is decodable by modern automated tools, using clean programming techniques and relying on proper application infrastructure would be better.

    4. Data Breach Threat

    Gaming is not “kid stuff” to hackers. Hacking these platforms is becoming more common due to the popularity of online games. These platforms enable players to log in and communicate with one another.

    Millions of usernames and passwords have been hacked due to all the gaming data breaches, which can result in credential stuffing, account takeover, and other things. Even saved payment cards used to buy games, extra lives, tools, and other platform-specific goods have experienced data breaches.

    According to Akamai’s Gaming Respawned report –  Gaming remains the industry most hit by DDoS attacks, accounting for 37% of all DDoS traffic observed globally, nearly twice that of the second most DDoS-attacked vertical — financial services.

    Because eight-character passwords are so popular, credential stuffing is a serious issue. Hackers can discover a gamer’s login information and then test it using software that can generate billions of guesses every second.

    Also Read: The Influence of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in Gaming Software Development

    • Solution:

    Installing a motion detection system in the infrastructure of the gaming app is beneficial since it warns them about potential threats. Real-time security analysis is still relatively new, but it allows one to monitor attempted attacks on the gaming app and acquire knowledge about their source and frequency.

    Undoubtedly, the server side of the system needs to be protected with security software and firewalls; customer-server communication should be performed via SSL and other safer methods. Because access to all the server-side data happens through the customer side, the same protection implementation should also be performed for the application’s client side.

    Wrap up

    In this ever evolving world of tech, developers need to stay updated with latest tech. This will help them build a secure application which benefits the company and the users.

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    Nisha Sharma
    Nisha Sharma- Go beyond facts. Tech Journalist at OnDot Media, Nisha Sharma, helps businesses with her content expertise in technology to enable their business strategy and improve performance. With 3+ years of experience and expertise in content writing, content management, intranets, marketing technologies, and customer experience, Nisha has put her hands on content strategy and social media marketing. She has also worked for the News industry. She has worked for an Art-tech company and has explored the B2B industry as well. Her writings are on business management, business transformation initiatives, and enterprise technology. With her background crossing technology, emergent business trends, and internal and external communications, Nisha focuses on working with OnDot on its publication to bridge leadership, business process, and technology acquisition and adoption. Nisha has done post-graduation in journalism and possesses a sharp eye for journalistic precision as well as strong conversational skills. In order to give her readers the most current and insightful content possible, she incorporates her in-depth industry expertise into every article she writes.