Online gaming has been around for decades and continues to evolve as technology advances along with the rise of fraudulent attacks. Online gaming fraud attacks represented the majority of those that took place in the 1H of 2020 and some of this malicious activity is based on real money trading; the selling of valuable in-game assets on so-called “gray market” forums. 

2020 is an industry-defining year for online gaming. According to the Arkose Labs Q3 2020 Fraud and Abuse Report, gaming traffic rose another 30% compared to Q1 2020.  Analysts predict that by 2022, the gaming industry will generate $195 billion in revenue. As the industry continues to evolve and change, here are the top 3 things you probably didn’t know about the most attacked industry.


Recommended Blog: 65 Online Attacks in Gaming Per Second in Q2 2020


In-game economies entice fraudsters to deploy bots at scale

The malicious activity seen in online gaming platforms is based around real money trading. Video games have their own entire complex economy which has become an interest for trained economists and a target for fraudsters. Users sell valuable in-game assets that take hours of in-game grinding, completing missions, and other tasks. This drives attackers to deploy bots at scale to perform repetitive actions that accumulate in-game currency or valuable items that are eventually sold on third party sites. 

This leads to several negative effects in this intricate economy: 

  • Harming fair play: Players can purchase valuable in-game items from fraudsters at a cheaper price without having to spend time or effort.
  • Revenue loss: Official online gaming companies lose out on potential revenue when users purchase items from third parties.
  • ATO attacks: Good users fall victim to fraudsters that are motivated to sell their valuable information by using bots for account takeover attacks.
  • Bonus abuse: New accounts are created en masse to claim rare items that are offered to attract new customers.

Recommended Blog: Anatomy of an Account Takeover Attack (ATO)


Good users are caught in ban waves in an attempt to mass ban bot accounts

Fighting in-game malicious activity is difficult and the consequences often unintentionally compromise real user accounts. Online gaming companies deploy a mass ban that leaves good users caught in this net. The online gaming community is notoriously known to be very vocal about their opinions on social networks and forums such as Reddit. Companies are put at risk when users retreat to public forums to share their displeasure with that company. This elicits negative brand connotations and continues the cycle. 

Valorant, a game developed and published by Riot Games in 2020 is a prime example of a company enlisting mass bans to eliminate cheating. 


Recommended EBook: Gaming – Q3 2020 Fraud Report


Online gaming companies retract promotional items and functionality

Gaming platforms sometimes may resort to drastic steps by reducing or eliminating promotional items that come with opening new accounts or scaling back on rewards with rare inventory due to increased fraud. In order to maintain and control fraudulent online gaming fraud attacks, these steps are seen as necessary actions, in hopes of beating fraudsters.

Rolling back on functionality not only affects the players, but also costs the game designers and developers their time and effort that went into in-game features. Restrictive functionality makes the user interface and experience less enjoyable, putting the company at risk of losing good users.

Safeguard gaming platforms with Arkose Labs

Arkose Labs protects global gaming companies from evolving attacks and blocks all automated activity aimed at monetizing stolen data. A unified approach combines risk decisions with adaptive enforcement challenges to accurately distinguish fraudsters from genuine users and incrementally depletes the returns from the fraud attacks. This provides a long-term strategy for stamping out fraud and abuse on gaming platforms. 


Recommended EBook: How to Stop Fraud in Online Gaming


With the gaming industry being used by fraudsters to test out emerging attack techniques, Arkose Labs enables businesses to spot signs of fraud earlier and use targeted friction to stamp out abuse. Download the mini eBook to learn more about Real Money Trading by clicking the link below.