Fraud Prevention

The Bulk of Attacks on Gaming Platforms are Automated

October 23, 20195 min Read

A multi-level, integrated fraud prevention approach can help online gaming companies prevent automated attacks, save millions of dollars, and maintain sanctity of the entire gaming ecosystem

In today's digital-first world, it's hard to imagine someone who would not have played online games. Always-on internet connectivity and greater adoption of smartphones have made it easier for a wider, global audience to play online games. The offline games of yesteryear have transformed into their digital avatars. Furthermore, the availability of numerous online gaming platforms and solo/team games, have provided gamers with a wide range of options to choose from.

Gaming Platforms Attract Automated Attacks

Online gaming platforms are making all-round efforts to offer seamless on-boarding to new players, immersive gaming experiences, and real-time in-game purchases powered by multiple payment options to attract players to their platforms. Some online gaming platforms even allow players to create their own games. However, those same conveniences become a bane as fraudsters exploit them for financial gain.

Hiding behind the anonymity of the internet, fraudsters monetize attacks on online gaming platforms with minimal effort and investment. According to Arkose Labs Q3 Fraud and Abuse Report, online gaming platforms are the most preferred targets for automated attacks or those perpetrated through sweatshops/click farms. Logins constitute the bulk of attacks on gaming platforms at 78.9%.

Fraudsters use automated programs to imitate authentic users, launching thousands of gaming sessions. This earns them huge volumes of virtual game currency in a few seconds. They create fraudulent user accounts to abuse rewards given to new players -- something that many online gaming platforms offer. They attempt account takeovers (automatically guessing at the password) of genuine gamers to siphon off the assets and digital currency, and sell them on third party sites and/or black market. They might repeatedly guess the password wrong on purpose to deliberately trigger security measures that lock a player out of the game before a big competitive event! They even use these accounts to 'gift' virtual goods to other players that drain money from the original account, which can then convert into chargebacks on a credit card, causing more damage. Fraudsters abuse the auction houses to create artificial inflation, exploit the platform's online messaging system to phish out personal details, and even play on behalf of the others, thereby jeopardizing the entire gaming ecosystem and disrupting user experience.

Fraud Impacts the Gaming Ecosystem

Given the global reach and scale of operations of the online gaming platforms, all of these fraud techniques cause colossal financial and reputational losses to these platforms. Fraud and online abuse also impacts other stakeholders of the online gaming ecosystem including payment service providers, game developers, advertisers, and so forth. It disrupts gaming experience for genuine users and in worst cases can lead to customer churn.

To cite an instance, one of the world's biggest sports video gaming companies became the target for fraudsters who used automated scripts to trigger thousands of matches automatically and complete hours of game sessions within a few seconds. Since the company rewarded the gamers with virtual currency on completion of a game session, fraudsters accumulated loads of virtual currency, which they sold for real currency in the black market.

Fraudsters not only abused the game servers, they created multiple fake accounts to cheat other players, act as fronts for illegitimate accounts, and levelled up the account profiles that could then be sold off to other gamers. Fraudsters took over genuine user accounts to steal the virtual currency contained therein. They also abused the company's online messaging system to phish out personal details from genuine users and then use these stolen credentials to make purchases—both in-game and elsewhere.

Prevent Abuse with Arkose Labs

Working with the company, Arkose Labs deployed bespoke solution that accurately filtered out both automated and organized sweatshop attacks, and prevented abuse of virtual game currency. There was a fifteen-fold reduction in fraud activity that saved the company millions of dollars while delivering a frictionless gaming experience for genuine users. Leveraging continuous intelligence, Arkose Labs effectively prevented account takeover attempts and streamlined new account origination. Fraudsters could no longer 'game' the platform for fraudulent purchases or to phish out personal details of authentic users.

Long-term Fraud Prevention Approach

Arkose Labs follows a multi-level, integrated fraud prevention approach that provides online gaming companies with a long-term strategy to effectively prevent automated attacks and maintain the sanctity of the entire gaming ecosystem, while fostering meaningful game engagement for genuine users.

The Arkose Labs solution helps global online gaming companies fight fraud and online abuse by bankrupting the fraud model. Powered by insights from global Telemetry, Arkose Labs Fraud and Defense Platform intelligently assigns risk scores to all users and presents adaptive stepped-up enforcement challenges to suspicious users. This incrementally increases the costs and diminishes the returns from the attack, which makes it progressively less attractive for the fraudsters.

To learn more about the Arkose Labs Fraud and Defense Platform and how it leverages continuous intelligence to help online gaming companies fight fraud and online abuse, schedule a demo now.