Online Games to Cause Software Security Issues

Why online games are a harbinger of software security issues to come

INDIANAPOLIS and DULLES, Va. -- Online game security is a powerful indicator of software security issues facing us in the near future, according to Exploiting Online Games, a new book published by Addison-Wesley Professional. Co- authored by Greg Hoglund and Dr. Gary McGraw, Chief Technology Officer of consulting firm Cigital, Exploiting Online Games takes a close look at the controversial world of massively multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPGs).

Analysts estimate that the gaming market will be a $12 billion industry by 2009, as tens of millions of simultaneous, interacting online gamers continue to move into the mainstream. Exploiting Online Games explores how game companies invade personal privacy in the name of security, why and how some gamers cheat, and what's really at stake in terms of real money. For example, some virtual economies have per capita Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) greater than many small nations, and they host direct connections to the real-world economy with published exchange rates and trading. With this kind of money at stake, criminals can - and do - become involved.

Exploiting Online Games describes in detail the kinds of attacks and techniques used by hackers who specifically target MMORPGs, and how these attacks and security issues have broader implications for how business will use distributed software and face similar exploits in the very near future.

"Sophisticated hackers have been working the fertile fields of MMORPGs for years," says McGraw. "Cheaters have real economic incentive to break game security, and as a reaction, game companies resort to some downright scary 'security' tactics-from installing secret spyware to imposing strong-arm legal tactics. Our fervent hope is that this book will lead to more secure software, both in the game community and beyond."

Cigital Inc.

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Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer