According to Akamai, a content delivery network (CDN), the gaming business has seen more cyberattacks than any other industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2019 and 2020, web application attacks against gaming organizations increased by 340 %, and by as high as 415 % between 2018 and 2020. “In 2020, Akamai tracked 246,064,297 web application attacks in the gaming industry, representing about 4% of the 6.3 billion attacks we tracked globally,” reads Akamai’s Gaming in a Pandemic report. 

Cybercriminals frequently used Discord to coordinate their operations and discuss best practices on various techniques such as SQL Injection (SQLi), Local File Inclusion (LFI), and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), according to the company. SQLi assaults were the most common, accounting for 59% of all attacks, followed by LFI attacks, which accounted for nearly a quarter of all attacks, and XSS attacks, which accounted for only 8%. 

“Criminals are relentless, and we have the data to show it,” Steve Ragan, Akamai security researcher and author of the report, was quoted as saying in a press release. “We’re observing a remarkable persistence in video game industry defenses being tested on a daily – and often hourly – basis by criminals probing for vulnerabilities through which to breach servers and expose information. We’re also seeing numerous group chats forming on popular social networks that are dedicated to sharing attack techniques and best practices.” 

Credential-stuffing attacks increased by 224% in 2019 compared to the previous year. Surprisingly, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks decreased by approximately 20% within the same period. Each day, millions of these attacks target the industry, with a peak of 76 million attacks in April, 101 million in October, and 157 million in December 2020, according to Akamai. 

Credential stuffing is a type of automated account takeover attack in which threat actors utilize bots to bombard websites with login attempts based on stolen or leaked credentials. They can then proceed to exploit the victims’ personal data once they find the perfect mix of “old” credentials and a new website. 

Last year, these attacks grew so frequent that bulk lists of login names and passwords could be purchased for as little as $5 per million records on dark web marketplaces. Poor cyber-hygiene practices such as reusing the same passwords across many online accounts and employing easy-to-guess passwords could be blamed for the increase in attacks. 

“Recycling and using simple passwords make credential stuffing such a constant problem and effective tool for criminals. A successful attack against one account can compromise any other account where the same username and password combination is being used,” said Steve Ragan.

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