Online gaming platforms have been kept busy trying to protect gaming arenas against elevated levels of fraud attacks while attracting new users, offering immersive gaming experience and adding games and services to increase their share of players’ game time. They have been working in overdrive for the past year due to an unprecedented increase in the number of users and the time spent playing online games.
Record volumes of traffic havr also brought with it a deluge of fraud that is making it difficult for online gaming platforms to offer meaningful gaming engagement to their users. The gaming industry was the worst affected by fraud attacks during 2020 with 33% of the total traffic being fraudulent activity. Fraudsters exploited every possible opportunity, from looting sign-up bonuses to stealing assets from compromised accounts, manipulating in-game economies, auction house abuse, economy inflation, match-fixing, and sending spam.
In Q1 2021, gaming companies experienced a big spike in mobile-driven attacks across all touchpoints, according to the Arkose Labs Q2 2021 Fraud and Abuse Report. From 19% in Q4 2020, mobile attacks rose to 32% in Q1 2021 and were predominantly bot-driven. Logins were the top attack touchpoint in addition to rampant in-game abuse, spam, fake review, payment monetization, and registrations.
Interestingly, many fraudsters targeting online gaming platforms are teenagers, who look for an unfair advantage while playing these games. Gaming is also becoming a popular ‘starting off’ point for aspiring fraudsters, as they can launch attacks at scale using simple bots; and make money by selling in-game digital items and currency in gray market forums.
Protect gaming platforms from complex attacks
As digital becomes the new norm, online gaming platforms will continue to see a surge in player demands. It is estimated that by 2026, the global gaming market will reach $287.1 billion up from $167.9 billion in 2020, which will make it an even more attractive proposition for attackers to elevate the level of their ‘game’ too.
With mobile devices becoming a popular channel for gamers to access online gaming platforms, they have become a soft target for exploitation, as fraudsters can easily spoof mobile devices and hide their tracks by simply purchasing not only the IP addresses off of numerous websites but also the associated mobile device fingerprints. According to the Arkose Labs 2021 Q2 Fraud and Abuse Report, the overall attacks from the mobile channel in Q1 2021 increased to 32% from 19% in Q4 2020, with nearly 97% of the attacks being bot-driven and login being the top attacked touchpoint.
The onus of protecting gaming platforms and maintaining a trustworthy ecosystem rests with gaming companies and they must brace themselves up for a deluge of complex, hybrid attacks that make use of both bots and fraud farms to mimic player behaviors. Not only do fraud teams need to protect gaming platforms by accurately identifying bots and malicious actors from genuine users without burdening internal resources, they must also ensure unnecessary friction does not degrade user experience for good users.
This can be a challenge for fraud teams that use legacy solutions focused on fraud mitigation rather than fraud deterrence. These traditional solutions cannot adequately protect gaming ecosystems as fraudsters continue to evolve their attack techniques. This results in a constant cat-and-mouse game between the fraudsters and gaming companies that are left plugging in the holes after the damage has been done.
Protect gaming experience
To help online gaming platforms protect gaming experience, Arkose Labs stops fraud and abuse by bankrupting the business model of fraud. The attack is rendered too expensive for attackers, forcing them to abandon the attack and move on while ensuring genuine users continue enjoying a seamless gaming experience.
The Arkose Platform does not block any incoming user, instea,d it challenges suspicious users by presenting adaptive step-up challenges that incrementally become more complex and time-consuming. The dynamic risk engine – Arkose Detect – evaluates numerous digital parameters to assess the risk of each user and informs the challenge-response mechanism – Arkose Enforce – to present an appropriate challenge.
Often, good users pass through unchallenged, and those that do face a challenge find it fun. However, bots and automated scripts cannot pass through, as the 3D challenges are trained against the most advanced machine vision technology. As far as persistent malicious users are concerned, they continuously face challenges, which wastes their time, effort, and resources. Fraudsters try to maximize their profits by scaling up their attacks in the least possible time with the lowest investments. When their time, effort, and resources keep depleting, returns from the attack also begin to dwindle, eventually making the attack worthless and forcing the attackers to give up.
Use friction smartly and reduce operational costs
Online gaming platforms often face a catch-22 situation, as although increasing friction levels allows them to identify more suspicious users, it causes unnecessary hindrance for genuine users, which can lead to discontentment and degradation of gaming experience.
Using smart friction, the Arkose Labs Platform challenges suspicious traffic and helps protect gaming platforms by gaining control of account takeover losses, abuse of virtual economies, in-game cheating, spam, and more. They can prevent bots from initiating gaming sessions to collect virtual currency or assets without disrupting the gaming environment, which helps protect gaming platforms from complex, evolving attacks, long-term. The powerful detection and remediation, of both bot- and human-driven attacks as a front-line defense, allows them to fight aggressively against fraud and abuse without disrupting legitimate players. This is a fundamental shift from fraud detection to fraud deterrence.
To learn how Arkose Labs helps protect gaming brands and maintain stellar player experience while lowering operational costs, please book a demo now.