Cybercrime in Online Gaming

Cybercrime in Online Gaming

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9715-5.ch059
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Video games offer rich interactive experiences. Increasingly, however, their popularity coupled with their global connectivity has raised concerns about safety. Although it can be argued that video game developers and publishers have been plagued by cybercrime since the beginning of the industry, video game companies are not the only targets. Cybercriminals also have their sights on gamers. This article examines cybercrime affecting the video game industry and its players. Focused on some of the most deliberate forms of cybercrime found in the literature within the past few years, the article explores data breaches, compromised accounts and stolen data, the theft and sale of in-game items, and money laundering. While the information is anticipated to be of value to educators, practitioners, researchers, game developers, and publishers, it should by no means be considered an all-inclusive reference, but rather a catalyst for discussion, debate, and future research.
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Cybercrime In Online Gaming

Cybercrime is not new to the video game industry (Cook, 2016; Dickson, 2016). Nevertheless, the popularity and prolific growth in the number of online games have produced new opportunities for cybercriminals (Dickson, 2016), who have come to view these games and their players (hereafter referred to as “gamers”) as easy targets for making quick money through a multitude of techniques. Given that the size of the game industry rivals that of the movie industry in terms of gross revenue, and that hacking techniques are anticipated to grow in sophistication, it has been argued (Cook, 2016, 2017) that the potential for increasingly complex and dangerous online threats is a serious problem.

In the subsequent sections of this chapter, data breaches, compromised accounts and stolen data, the theft and sale of in-game items, and money laundering are discussed. Other forms of cybercrime facing the video game industry, such as the highly debated practices of piracy and reverse engineering, are not discussed. Although these threats are also important, this chapter focuses on the most deliberate types of cybercrime impacting the video game industry in recent years.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Video Games: Digitally based games typically played on personal computers or dedicated gaming devices, such as game consoles (e.g., Xbox, PlayStation) or handheld game devices (e.g., 3DS, Vita) ( DaCosta et al., 2015 ).

Mobile Games: Digitally based games mostly played on mobile devices (e.g., smartphone, tablet) ( DaCosta, Seok, & Kinsell, 2015 ).

Cybercrime: Criminal activity involving computer systems, networks, and/or the internet.

Money Laundering: The conversion of illegally obtained money to legitimate money and assets using legal businesses and transfer of currencies.

Data Breach: A security incident involving unauthorized access to data.

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