The must-do security implementations in mobile game development
Mobile game development industry has turned gigantic in the whole entertainment world. In 2014, it produced $93 billion and is expected to reach around $111 billion by the end of 2015. The revenue has turned bigger than what Hollywood makes every year. It is happening due the rapid growth of mobile devices because of which it has become easier for any user to download games. Unlike PC games which often come at a lot of price, mobile games are way cheaper. Users can easily pay to buy high quality games.
But that doesn’t mean mobile game developmentstry is an easy, smooth drive. In fact, it is full of bumps, particularly because of those ones which are caused by security related issues.
Revenue loss due to mobile hacking
Developers are in rush to launch apps and in that same rush, they often ignore proper security implementations. They launch the product and start making revenue but there are many real world examples showing that many developers have lost 50% or more of their revenue because of hacking.
A real-life example for the app-hack is the Monument Valley game app which is available on iOS, Android and Kindle for $3.99. As the developers of game stated, this game has been installed on more than 10 million devices but they sold only 2.4 million copies. So what happened with rest of the copies? Rest of them was installed illegally and only 40% of all iOS installs and 5% of all Android installs paid for the game. Now think that they have lost triple of the money ($5.8 million) they made by selling 2.4 million copies of the game.
Common threats in gaming apps
It’s really a complex task to secure mobile game app. There are a variety of threats and they vary platform to platform. Different factors like game-type, architecture, etc are also critical elements affecting security of mobile game development. It’s not difficult to reverse engineer, change and repackage an app and launch it in the market. These repacked apps will most probably have malware. Take the example of the popular app Flappy Bird which turned top free gaming app in a month of launch. As claimed by its developers, they made $50,000 per day from in-app advertisement. Just a one month later, more than 60 different tweaked versions of the same app were launched. 79% of these tweaked versions were reported to have malware.
Flaw in the in-app purchasing system allowing hackers to get access to item for free
In July 2012, hackers discovered a flow in Apple’s in-app purchase system which allowed them to make purchases for in-game currency and other items for free. In consequence, 8.4 million false purchases were made by a single hacker. More than 115 games including Plants vs. Zombies, Temple Run, and Fruit Ninja were affected.
Unauthorized installations and piracy
Third party app stores also cause huge loss to games. Take the example of Android for which dozens of third party app stores are online. It’s because Android allows installing apps from sources other than the Play store. Often time, developers also host their apps to these store and wish for extra revenue. Some of these stores do also host pirated versions of apps and not only does they deny giving any revenue to developers but also, many of these pirated apps are added with malicious code which affect devices of users. As the end of the day, it all demolishes the name of the original mobile game development company.
Security is continuous process
What mobile game developers can do is that they provide more robust security to their apps. And it’s a continuous process. You need to manage security of your application everyday as with each passing day, hackers reach closer to breach it. You need to upgrade security features of your app to prevent hackers from taking the advantage of outdated design & architecture. You have also heard of saying – “precaution is better than cure”. It applies in this case too.
Do secure your games
Every mobile game development has key values that the developers are supposed to protect. They will need to have the thought of most valuable features that can be tempting for hackers. They also need to take the account of features and which part of these features they want to keep on the server or on the client device.
Add a line of defense to prevent piracy.
By adding server level authentication, mobile game developers can add a line of defense to their app. It is applied before player can login and play the game. Create the game with method which requires users to download something from the server and where authentication of app is required. At the end, they can add protection on layers of memory, disk and network.
Take help of specialists
Last but not the least, mobile game developers will get consultancy of security specialists. Of course every firm has internal team to ensure security but with help of external audit, you can add more robust security features to your game.