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Developers vs Cybercriminals: Protecting your MMO from online crime
 

Developers vs Cybercriminals: Protecting your MMO from online crime

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Patrick Wyatt's presentation from GDC 2010: Developers versus Cybercriminals: Protecting your MMO from online crime

Patrick Wyatt's presentation from GDC 2010: Developers versus Cybercriminals: Protecting your MMO from online crime

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  • Copyright March 2010 by En Masse Entertainment. This document is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States. Please see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ for further details.
  • Griefers like to make players angry; that's how they have their fun. Unfortunately their behavior is incredibly detrimental to the community, game stickiness and player longevity. Victims of griefing are more than unhappy; they can be so enraged they quit the game in anger. The behavior is so common it’s known as “rage-quitting”.Here are some methods that griefers have used to annoy gamers: Exploiting game mechanics:Spamming messages in chat channels to overwhelm legitimate chat.Substituting worthless or inexpensive items for valuable ones during trades.Blocking access to areas players would like to visit.Monopolizing game markets to prevent players from purchasing items they need.Many, many more.To address these types of exploits it’s necessary to hire designers who think about griefing. In fact, hiring one or more griefers on the design team will likely make for a better play experience for players because those designers will be more aware of the exploits of the systems they’re creating. Ultimately, play mechanics must be designed with the idea that players will attempt to exploit the game2. Exploiting game programming weaknesses:Send messages to appear to be from another player or from the server.Flood other players’ Internet connections to overwhelm their network router.Send messages that are designed to crash the game client or even the operating system. It was possible to send the so-called “Ping of Death” to Windows 95 computers that could crash the computer, and many games have similar bugs.Overwhelm servers with computation ("gray goo" in Second Life).It’s necessary for the programming team to develop strong network protocols that validate every message that’s sent to the server, and to ensure that client systems in peer-to-peer games can differentiate between messages sent by different players using a cryptographically secure mechanism.3.Meta-griefing or large-scale hacking:Distributed denial-of-service attack. (Aion was attacked on launch day by determined hackers who tried to flood it off the ‘net).Slowloris: too many connections from one or more computersThese types of hacks can be considerably more difficult to deal with, and can require coordinated efforts on the part of the development and network operations teams.
  • Griefers like to make players angry; that's how they have their fun. Unfortunately their behavior is incredibly detrimental to the community, game stickiness and player longevity. Victims of griefing are more than unhappy; they can be so enraged they quit the game in anger. The behavior is so common it’s known as “rage-quitting”.Here are some methods that griefers have used to annoy gamers: Exploiting game mechanics:Spamming messages in chat channels to overwhelm legitimate chat.Substituting worthless or inexpensive items for valuable ones during trades.Blocking access to areas players would like to visit.Monopolizing game markets to prevent players from purchasing items they need.Many, many more.To address these types of exploits it’s necessary to hire designers who think about griefing. In fact, hiring one or more griefers on the design team will likely make for a better play experience for players because those designers will be more aware of the exploits of the systems they’re creating. Ultimately, play mechanics must be designed with the idea that players will attempt to exploit the game2. Exploiting game programming weaknesses:Send messages to appear to be from another player or from the server.Flood other players’ Internet connections to overwhelm their network router.Send messages that are designed to crash the game client or even the operating system. It was possible to send the so-called “Ping of Death” to Windows 95 computers that could crash the computer, and many games have similar bugs.Overwhelm servers with computation ("gray goo" in Second Life).It’s necessary for the programming team to develop strong network protocols that validate every message that’s sent to the server, and to ensure that client systems in peer-to-peer games can differentiate between messages sent by different players using a cryptographically secure mechanism.3.Meta-griefing or large-scale hacking:Distributed denial-of-service attack. (Aion was attacked on launch day by determined hackers who tried to flood it off the ‘net).Slowloris: too many connections from one or more computersThese types of hacks can be considerably more difficult to deal with, and can require coordinated efforts on the part of the development and network operations teams.

Developers vs Cybercriminals: Protecting your MMO from online crime Developers vs Cybercriminals: Protecting your MMO from online crime Presentation Transcript