Gaming represents billions of dollars of profit around the globe and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by cybercriminals. Depending upon how a platform operates, gaming can bring everything from a list of users to the software design for game knockoffs that can be sold in the black market on illicit websites. In July, 2020, the DOJ (US Department of Justice) charged two Malaysian and five Chinese men with hacking over one hundred companies.
The criminals made use of gaining in-game currencies and items by hacking, fraud, or other means and then sell them on their websites. The hacking occurred in tech firms in the U.S., Japan, France, South Korea, and Singapore. They targeted computer makers, software developers, social media companies, and other technologies. “Several of the Chinese defendants compromised the networks of video game companies worldwide. That’s a billion-dollar industry. And defrauded them of game resources,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told reporters.
Various tech companies assisted the DOJ including Verizon, Facebook, and Google in their process of stopping the attack methods of these hackers. The individuals in charge of filing the charges indicated that the Chinese state is to blame for giving the criminals a safe haven to operate in and allowing the activities to happen.
While around nine video game firms were victims of hacking, none have been identified by name. One game-maker that did identify a problem was Capcom, who indicated that their computer systems had been hacked. Capcom is known for their game franchises of such games as Street Fighter, Resident Evil, and Mega Man. They found that their networks had experienced a suspension “due to unauthorized access” from outside of the company. While they were having problems with their email and servers, they indicated that the websites and online gameplay didn’t seem to be affected. Capcom has not indicated whether any material or proprietary information had been stolen.
Capcom is just one of a few gaming companies to have come forward to admit to having been hacked. Game developer Ubisoft has the Watch Dogs: Legion game which is about hacking that may have actually been hacked so that the source code was stolen and may have been placed online. The gaming company hasn’t confirmed the report but have stated that they are investigating the claim. The hacker group making the claim has said that they are responsible for hacking Ubisoft, Crytek, and Capcom. These reports add to those that occurred early in 2020 when it was reported that Nintendo had experienced a series of leaks.
So what does all of this mean for a gamer? The answer is that many gamers may fall prey to accessing some of the illicit games that are being sold on the dark web. Besides the general idea of corporate theft, using these games opens the doors to hackers adding their own code to steal information from a gamer’s computer, identity theft, and even malware such as ransomware. The allure of a cheaper version of a favourite game may come at a high price.
“DaVinci Forensics is constantly vigilant in maintaining information on potential threats to clients and the general public. As specialists in the industry, we offer advice and share information and warnings to try to keep everyone safe from cybercriminals.”
– Sharon Knowles, CEO DaVinci Forensics