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Did you really lose?
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Written by Daniel   
Friday, 13 July 2007 10:25

 

Hacking Counter Strike
A fair advantage?
{multithumb}Or were you cheated by a fellow gamer armed with a hack?

 Online Gaming's Seamy Underside
— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading
JULY 12, 2007 | You're playing an online game in which players are warriors who can only walk, jump, or run. Suddenly, another player appears out of nowhere, draws his sword, and hacks you to bits.
Game over. But were you really beaten by a superior player? Or did a hacker or cheater simply rig the game? A new book that will be published tomorrow suggests that in the gamers' world, the cheaters often win.



In Exploiting Online Games, which is scheduled for release by Addison-Wesley on Friday, authors Greg Hoglund and Gary McGraw paint a revealing picture of the vulnerabilities in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) -- and the attackers who exploit them.

"Gamers need to know that others are cheating," says McGraw, who is also CTO of Cigital. "But there's an even bigger issue here, because the interactivity we see today in these games is a lot like the interactivity we see just starting in the world of Web 2.0 and SOA. The security problems we see in gaming right now could be a harbinger of what's to come on the Web in the future."

Like the mainstream security research market, the gaming world has spawned a growing black market for cheats, hacks, and malicious exploits, McGraw says. "There is real money to be made by selling 'virtual assets' -- the stuff you need to play these games -- and hackers are learning that they can make money by getting those assets or helping others to get them." He points to IGE, a $400 million company that operates a marketplace for buying and selling virtual items.

The result is that many hackers are now plying their trade in the world of MMORPGs, discovering new ways to defeat the barriers laid out by the online game software and its associated network. "You can buy a bot that will play the game for you automatically," McGraw observes, "Or you can hire a sweatshop worker in China to do it for you. You can buy an exploit that will let you go beyond the boundaries of the game and do things that other players can't."... More

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