Of all the digital entertainment avenues, online gaming emerged as the most popular channel during the second quarter of 2020, which coincided with the COVID-19-induced global lockdowns. Online gaming companies experienced the biggest engagement levels and increased revenues in Q2 2020. However, fraudsters mapped these trends quickly and adapted their attack tactics, which resulted in online gaming attacks peaking in Q2 2020.

Online gaming attacks reached intense levels in Q2 2020 with as many as 65 attacks per second, according to Arkose Labs’ latest Q3 2020 Fraud and Abuse Report. Logins were the most-attacked touchpoint, which rose 20% over the previous quarter. Although fraudsters extensively used bots to ramp up attacks and achieve scale in Q1, they shifted to human-driven attacks in Q2.

The attack levels were so intense that the industry suffered the highest ever proportion of human-driven attacks—at 41%—in the last four quarters. Incidentally, the gaming industry was second only to retail when it comes to human versus bot attack mix. In Q2 2020, there was a steady increase in sweatshop activity, amid major spikes in automated attacks.

Nearly 27% of the incoming traffic constituted online gaming attacks

It was not just the greatest uptick in online traffic—which rose another 30% over Q1 2020—but also the surge in the number of hours that users spent on gaming platforms. This provided fraudsters with just the right opportunity to blend in with good users to orchestrate online gaming attacks and target these businesses at peak traffic times. As much as 26.6% of the incoming traffic on gaming platforms in the first half of this year constituted attacks, our Q3 2020 Fraud and Abuse Report reveals.

Gaming industry was kept busy in the first half of the year—both by the customers and fraudsters. Fraudsters used click farms and bots for online gaming attacks and in-game abuse. These included real money trading, farming gold, looting items, or repeating actions many times over to generate assets. All of these exploits are sold to other gamers through backchannels and illegitimate marketplaces.


Recommended Download: Q3 2020 Fraud and Abuse Report


Temporary corrective measures damage user experience

To arrest such abuse and vitiation of the overall gaming environment, gaming platforms often resort to rolling back certain features such as gifting and trading. This disrupts user experience for good users, limits options for game developers, and damages the brand reputation for the gaming platforms.

Banning such malicious actors downstream, however, does not wean the fraudsters away and provides only temporary respite. Therefore, instead of relying on downstream banning, these platforms must proactively monitor malicious activity to prevent online gaming attacks.

Today, online gaming platforms are operating in a highly hostile threat landscape where attack volumes are expected only to rise. It, therefore, becomes important that they build robust defense mechanisms that enables them to confidently ward off ever-increasing and complex threats.

Gartner recommends fraud capabilities that deliver great user experience

Mitigation solutions and pure data-driven fraud solutions are no longer effective in fighting online gaming attacks. In today’s complex threat landscape, where perpetrators are using advancements in technology to compromise digital identities at scale and impersonate genuine users, it is increasingly becoming difficult for data-driven fraud solutions to correctly identify malicious actors.


Recommended Download: Gaming, Retail, and Media Industries Bear the Brunt of Fraud and Abuse in Q2 2020 – Blog


Gartner, in its Cool Vendors 2020 report, also recommends robust fraud detection capabilities that allow businesses to deliver a great user experience. Therefore, gaming platforms need an out-of-box approach that enables them to stand up to evolving online gaming attacks with confidence, while safeguarding the interests of genuine users.

Arkose Labs’ zero tolerance to fraud and online attacks approach

Arkose Labs follows a zero tolerance to fraud approach, which gives us a unique ability to monitor pernicious activities on online gaming platforms even from logged-in users. This helps gaming companies protect the sanctity of their online gaming environment and enable good users to engage in meaningful interactions.

Arkose Labs was featured as a Cool Vendor for our ability to address this twin challenge by combining risk assessment with targeted enforcement challenges in a user-friendly way. The Arkose Labs Fraud and Abuse Prevention Platform goes beyond behavioral analytics and data-driven fraud prevention to fight online gaming attacks in a way that helps gaming platforms ensure seamless user experience.


Recommended Download: Top Four 2020 Fraud Trends: COVID-19 Insights – Blog


About the Q3 2020 Arkose Labs Fraud and Abuse Report

The Q3 2020 Arkose Labs Fraud and Abuse Report Arkose Labs is based on an in-depth analysis of attack patterns uncovered from actual user sessions between April and June 2020. It provides insights into an ever-evolving threat landscape across industries and use cases. The report focuses on attacks from fraud outlets that combine state-of-the-art technology with stolen identity credentials and human efforts.

To read more deep-dive insights from the gaming industry, please download your copy of the Q3 2020 Arkose Labs Fraud and Abuse Report.