Cyberattacks against gaming aren’t anything new, but the stakes are higher than ever, which is driving innovation in gaming the games.
“eSports is a market where the top 10 teams are valued at about $2 billion in total, and where money is involved, there are folks trying to use dirty tricks,” Dirk Schrader from New Net Technologies told Threatpost. “We might want to call it ‘digital doping,’ since as the tournaments and the prize pools are getting bigger, the likelihood of attacks and hacks is also growing. For businesses already affected by recent attacks (CD Projekt Red), it is time to include essential controls and protection mechanism to an appropriate level.”
The rise of mobile gaming is also driving cyberthreats, including account takeover (ATO) attacks, according to Hank Schless with Lookout, a mobile security solutions provider.
“They often achieve this by sending targeted mobile phishing links to steal their login credentials. What happens a lot is that threat actors will send a phishing link through the in-game messaging system, directing the player to a fake login page,” Schless told Threatpost. “Usually, the actor will pose as a member of the game’s support team to convince the target to go to that fake page. This is just another iteration of mobile phishing. Malicious links can be sent to you through any app now, not just in emails.
A pair of top Apex Legends ranked players, or Apex Predators per the game’s tier system, have been banned by developer Respawn Entertainment for a DDoS attack on an Xbox server. They’ll not be able to play the game again, meaning they’re the ones getting a denial of service, if you think about it.
A couple of videos hit the Apex Legends subreddit that showed an in-progress game crash after an Apex Predator was knocked down. When the server reconnected, the knocked Apex Predator was revived and standing over the player responsible. The fourth and sixth ranked players in the match were then accused of colluding and performing the “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attack that overloaded the Xbox servers.
DDoS attacks on the console versions of Apex Legends seem to have become a more widespread problem of late: some players are claiming this is now a frequent occurrence in Predator lobbies. Ford recently said that Respawn would be cracking down on the practice, with a “console reckoning” incoming for DDoSers and DDoS customers.
“You can’t hide any of it,” Ford said on Twitter. “51 kill games back to back?? Send me the link to that chair homie.”
And this isn’t the first time Respawn has had to deal with serious cheating problems in the game’s Ranked mode: teaming has frequently been a problem, with some Predators caught forming six-man teams to give themselves an advantage. Back in May last year, Respawn said it would investigate several top players accused of teaming, but accusations of teaming still crop up from time to time.