Fraudsters Level Up on Sophisticated Online Gaming Attacks

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Arkose Labs report shows 30% increase in gaming attacks


SAN FRANCISCO, March 12, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Arkose Labs, providers of online fraud prevention technology, announced a 30% spike in attacks on gaming platforms last quarter. Findings from the Arkose Labs Q1 2020 Fraud and Abuse Report show most of the growth is coming from new account registration attacks, which increased more than 70%. Attacks targeting this sector are increasing at a rapid pace and often demonstrate highly sophisticated fraud patterns.

“The online gaming industry is a showcase for the fraud ecosystem’s creative streak. As the popularity of gaming platforms continues to grow, fraudsters across the globe are devising increasingly inventive ways to attack,” said Vanita Pandey, VP of Marketing and Strategy at Arkose Labs. “The fraudster’s end game can vary from stealing payment details in account takeovers, selling in-game assets on the black market, or scams that use gaming messaging systems to disseminate malicious content.”

Arkose Labs also found that human-driven attacks on gaming platforms grew sharply this quarter — especially for logins and payments. Fraudsters tap into global “sweatshops” to scale up attacks with human resources, while keeping costs low. Arkose Labs has detected an increase in human-driven in-game spam and abuse, with fraudsters trying to improve their success rates in attacks which involve two-way interactions that bots cannot execute well.

Automation has traditionally dominated attacks on gaming platforms and, despite the recent rise in human-driven fraud, it still accounts for the majority of attempts. Bot attacks range in sophistication from crude, high velocity attacks, to more advanced automated attacks that more accurately mimic human behavior. A unique sub-industry has emerged within the industry where fraudsters use bots to build account profiles and sell accounts with higher levels; or target online currencies used within select games.

“When targeting online gaming platforms, fraudsters are leveraging automated bots, human sweatshops and hybrid attacks to maximize their return on investment,” said Pandey. “For long-term resilience against the rising tide of fraud, operators need to assess the underlying intent of traffic using sophisticated profiling technology, and then deploy targeted friction towards high-risk activity. This will slow fraudsters down and increase their costs, until the point that large-scale attacks become unsustainable for fraudsters.”

As the global online gaming community continues to expand, in-game assets are now estimated to be worth more than $50 billion. These assets are emerging as a hot new target for fraudsters who use account takeover attacks and illicit real money trading to steal and sell on assets in exchange for virtual gold.

The ingenuity of fraudsters means that they can monetize online interactions intended to have no financial value and tap into a shadow support ecosystem in order to attack at scale and sell assets on an online black market. The more success they see, the stronger their fraud operations become, as profits are used to expand resources and launch fresh attacks.

To access the full Q1 2020 Fraud and Abuse Report, click here. To learn more about Arkose Labs and its Fraud and Abuse Defense Platform, click here.

About the Arkose Labs Q1 2020 Fraud and Abuse Report
Based on actual user sessions and attack patterns from October through December 2019, the Q1 2020 Arkose Labs Fraud and Abuse Report analyzed more than 1.3 billion transactions spanning account registrations, logins and payments across the financial services, ecommerce, travel, social media, gaming and entertainment sectors. The findings investigate the mechanics of attacks originating from automated bots, humans and sweatshops.

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