Online gaming risks and prevention from attacks

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Security Matters

Bugs and flaws in software are the cause for a majority of computer security problems. This was true for online banking and now it is true for online gaming, too. Software contains so many security-related bugs and software vendors have also developed special tools that just perform a job of finding bugs but these tools are not very effective. These tools did help a bit but also complicated the situation and the experts have produced thousand of papers on bugs’ taxonomy but unfortunately, most of them disagree with each other.

One of the most common security bugs involves time and state problems. This problem arises because of the necessity of the system state to be shared among many distributed processors - all having different levels of trustworthiness. If we take an example of a famous online game - World of Warcraft, we see that it too has to share game’s state information with tons of client programs at the same time and when all the clients’ processes interlink on a single server in real time, the state confusion attacks popup. And when the state information of a game is cracked off and sent to the untrusted game clients, this causes the most serious problems.

Another common attack associated with state is often called telehacking. It is related to traveling of the game characters e.g. walking, flying, running, teleporting, etc. The manipulation of a character state is usually done in the client software. Many online games exploits modify the mechanism how a client program handles the character’s travel. A cheating gamer finds and changes or resets the player’s character’s coordinates by manipulating the state and the location parameters in the memory. Even overwriting a single byte in a game such as World of Warcraft can make a character to climb mountains, climb straight walls, etc. This method is common among game hackers, they do it to get into some places where they are not supposed to get into. Because most online games seem very real, if a game cheater moves any character a little from its current location, this action can appear to be normal.

Botnets are not left unused even by game exploits. A game hacker uses botnets because these are very effective in inducing lag on the network. Botnets cause a game server to lag and at the meanwhile the hacker can manipulate the game as he wishes.

Copyrights of online games are very important but it is not the common and alarming issues because many online client applications are freely distributed and a fee is only charged when a player logs on to a server to play the game. Logging on of a gamer on to a server opens the opportunities for games’ exploits to benefit from the security weaknesses caused by bugs and flaws in the software, as mentioned above.

Security Tips For Gamers

Most online games need Adobe Flash Player to run. The game hackers can take advantage of any security weaknesses in the Flash and achieve their goal. To not give hackers a chance of misusing Flash, it is important to keep the Flash on your computer updated. The updated version of Flash contains better security features, able to deal with the latest security threats. The latest Flash version can be downloaded from here.

We all know the importance of having an antivirus software and also have one on our PCs. The gamers have also a special version of antivirus available, which they should use. Norton Antivirus Gaming Edition is a good one. It besides giving gamers full protection against worms, bots, viruses and other threats, is also compatible to gamers because it shows no alerts, notifications and the updates can also be temporarily suspended.

Online games must also avoid suspicious downloads. Add-ons that directly influence a particular game must be chosen carefully. It is recommended that only official add-on and patches are downloaded to avoid any malware.

Many online games require the players to open an online gamer account before they can play the game. the opening of the account requires setting up of a user name, password along with other information. It is important to choose an unbreakable password that no hacker could guess to break into your gaming account and cause any disruption. Creating Unbreakable Passwords explains how an unbreakable password is created.

Fans of World of Warcraft can take more help from How to Keep Your World of Warcraft Account Secure - Part 1.