Online gaming fraud is on the rise as the number of users across demographics continues to increase. Fraudsters use bots, automated scripts, and human sweatshops to exploit the vulnerabilities that online gaming platforms have. It is imperative that the security and sanctity of the online gaming ecosystem be preserved in order to offer meaningful gaming engagement to authentic users
Over the last few decades, the online gaming industry has grown exponentially, embracing millions of players, around the globe, in its fold. This growth is further fueled by the COVID-19 induced lockdowns that forced people to turn to the digital modes of entertainment. Not only have the number of users increased—which includes children, adults and even older adults (over 55 years of age), the number of hours spent on online gaming have also surged.
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More users spending more time means more online gaming fraud
It is estimated that nearly 700 million people around the world play games online. Further, youth in the age group of 18-25 years are spending 77 percent more time watching online gaming on platforms than on television. To capitalize on this prolific growth, companies are trying to make their online gaming platforms more user friendly by reducing barriers to entry, offering free-to-play games, making the games more immersive, offering more in-game services, and enhancing overall user experience.
When there is so much activity happening and financial transactions are involved, can online gaming fraud be far behind? The surge in the traffic on online gaming platforms is providing fraudsters with ample opportunities to attack. This is corroborated by the Gaming – Q3 2020 Fraud Report, which states that in Q2 2020, the attacks on gaming platforms reached intense levels at 65 attacks per second.
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The many shades of online gaming fraud
Online gaming platforms have many vulnerable areas that fraudsters can exploit for many types of online gaming fraud. Fraudsters maneuver their resources—which include automated scripts, bots, human sweatshops, and a combination of these—to orchestrate sophisticated attacks. These include new account registration, account takeover, payment fraud, auction house abuse, manipulation of in-game economies, spam and much more.
Let’s take a closer look at how fraudsters abuse these platforms for online gaming fraud that causes financial and reputational losses to gaming platforms and disrupts the gaming experience for authentic users.
- Bot-driven abuse: Fraudsters use bots to create hundreds of new fake accounts. These accounts help fraudsters to abuse the new account bonus at scale, which most online gaming platforms offer to attract new users. Further, these bot-powered accounts initiate and complete gaming sessions in no time, which allows fraudsters to collect and monetize large amounts of in-game currency rather quickly. In the process, the gaming engagement for authentic users is adversely impacted and they face degradation of user experience.
- Account takeover: This is a particularly popular attack method for fraudsters as they can abuse the compromised accounts to steal a wealth of information apart from of course the in-game currency. Account takeover attacks allow fraudsters to steal payment credentials, re-sell in-game assets, and even re-sell accounts with healthy assets. Reselling compromised accounts causes financial losses to online gaming platforms as it allows users to bypass the true cost of purchasing a game.
- Spam: Often fraudsters use fraudulent new accounts to set up fake profiles and send out spam or malicious content to authentic users. And, it’s not limited to spamming genuine users, fraudsters go a step ahead to harass users only for sadistic pleasure. Further, they can downvote user-created content in a bid to discredit genuine users. Authentic users can feel threatened and demotivated, respectively, and quit the platform, causing loss of business and reputation for the online gaming platform.
- Collusion: Fraudsters use fake accounts as well as compromised accounts for collusion to manipulate the outcomes of the games. While the gaming platforms incur economic losses, authentic users face frustration.
Online gaming platforms are obliged to protect authentic users
Since millions of users—including the aged and children—are actively engaging on online gaming platforms, it is of utmost importance that the security and sanctity of the online gaming ecosystem be preserved. However, the complex nature of online gaming platforms requires that the approach to fighting online gaming fraud be more nuanced, which allows for accurate identification of fraudsters.
Online gaming platforms need a layered approach which leverages continuous intelligence to understand the true underlying intent of each user and assign risk profiles to trigger appropriate countermeasures. This approach is beneficial, as it eliminates fraud and reduces false positives, which helps maintain superlative user experience. Authentic users are not burdened, as friction is used intelligently to pin down fraudsters and force them to abandon the attacks.
Arkose Labs adopts a two-pronged, zero tolerance to fraud approach, which segments users according to their risk profiles and then presents risky users with targeted friction. This is especially critical when the volume of incoming traffic on online gaming platforms is high, as fraudsters try to blend in with authentic users to gain access.
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Shut the fraudsters out, deliver frictionless experience for authentic users
The Arkose Labs platform is optimally designed for the gaming industry using interactive entertainment design principles in mind. The authentication challenges are in the form of puzzles that authentic users find fun to solve, providing them with meaningful game engagement and overall superior user experience.
Arkose Detect, the dynamic risk engine analyzes hundreds of parameters to assess the risk level of each individual. Based on this risk-decisioning, Arkose Enforce—the adaptive, step-up challenge-response mechanism—presents context-based, enforcement challenges to suspicious users. Generally, authentic users can access the platform unchallenged; but, in the event they are presented with the challenges, they can clear them in an easy, fun way. Automated scripts and bots fail quickly, as these challenges are vigorously tested to make them resilient to even the most advanced machine vision technologies.
When it comes to malicious human users looking to clear the challenges at scale, Arkose Enforce keeps presenting progressively complex challenges until they are forced to abandon the attack. This is because adaptive step-up challenges waste their time, efforts and resources, which render the attack unprofitable and force the fraudsters to move on.
The feedback loop between Arkose Detect and Arkose Enforce ensures that the insights from each user session help enhance future risk-decisioning, which further strengthens the defenses against evolving online gaming fraud tactics. To learn how you can stop the fraudsters right at the entry gates, without jeopardizing gaming experience for authentic users, request a copy of the ebook or book a demo now.