Opinion: Protecting your gaming content

Gamers are among the most tech-savvy consumers out there, but they – along with the industry at large – are still vulnerable to cyber attacks says Steve Miller-Jones, senior director product management, Limelight Networks.

Gaming platforms and esports broadcasters are both attractive to cyber criminals looking to launch an attack. High profiles and large subscriber bases provide them with a significant target for end user data harvesting, service disruption and criminality. 

This year, we are seeing an evolution in DDoS attacks such as the recent issues with Final Fantasy. This is alerting game developers to reconsider their cybersecurity. These breaches occur from compromised systems, which are used to create a botnet to flood a targeted system with an overwhelming number of requests and traffic. These aim to cause service outage on a mass scale by flooding the platform with unsustainable demands for requests and traffic. The applications attacked are starved of resources and performance and quality is significantly degraded. 

With the gaming industry booming, we will undoubtedly see more sophisticated DDoS campaigns, potentially during key events such as new game launches. We expect the frequency of cyber-attacks to increase over the next 18 months, part of the reason being the ease by which attacks against web applications can be launched. To maintain brand reputation and continue driving revenue, game developers must harness the power of high performing networks that safeguard their content. 

“With the gaming industry booming, we expect cyber-attacks to increase over the next 18 months”

You could have the best on-premise security solution that money can buy, but if your connection to the Internet gets flooded with attack traffic, it will not make a difference. When a game is released, there needs to be a solution that’s ready to deliver millions of copies. It not only needs to scale at launch, it also needs to flex for those unexpected spikes in demand.

Ensuring a solution includes behaviour-based detection techniques that can recognise application attacks is an important consideration in your buying decision. Being able to distinguish between attempted attacks and general traffic is essential when catering to big audiences. In the event of an attack, it is imperative to be informed of exactly what kind of attack it is. While an attack can bring your gaming platforms and esports streams down for hours, the performance delays caused by always-on scrubbing solutions can also lead to slower site performance. 

Any solution to DDoS detection and remediation must come with consideration for performance impacts and the end user’s experience. A high-performing CDN should satisfy the always-on detection requirement without any peacetime performance penalty. Cloud security solutions provide defensive protection for your website and your content regardless of what you are delivering from safeguarding a video playback portal, to a game download origin. It’s always wise to ensure that your CDN partner puts the customer experience first, and that your gaming content is protected with premium security software. 

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