Secuirty threats to mobile gaming apps

Mobile gaming apps have always been targets of pirate and hacker attacks. What has changed recently, though, is the sophistication of ways in which they bypass, cheat, modify or pirate mobile gaming applications. With mobile gameplay on the rise, poor game cybersecurity will have an ever-increasing impact on how game developers and publishers lose money.

To build comprehensive mobile app protection, understanding security threats to mobile games thoroughly is highly necessary. Want to learn more about it? Read on!

Table of Contents

How do mobile gaming app cheats get created?
What are the common threats to mobile gaming app security?
How are piracy and cheating affecting mobile gaming app security and businesses?
How can you protect your mobile gaming app?
Is anti-tamper protection working at all?
Is it difficult to integrate mobile gaming protection?
Does mobile gaming protection impact game performance and gaming experience?
How much does mobile app protection cost?
How do I get started protecting my mobile game?

How do mobile gaming app cheats get created?

Let’s start by explaining how game cheats get created. Typically, this involves these steps:

  1. Reverse engineering – hackers are using intelligence gathered from code analysis tools to reverse-engineer game binaries exposing valuable code.
  2. Tampering with the game code – hackers are conducting unauthorized code modifications, or they insert malicious code into an application’s binaries, or move it out of the application.
  3. Publishing – hackers repack the game code and upload it to a website that provides hacked apps to interested users. And some of them go as far as repacking stolen intellectual property (IP) and publishing it with a different graphical interface (GUI), as if it was their own product.

 

How do mobile gaming app cheats get created?

This process shows how mobile gaming app cheats get created

What are the common threats to mobile gaming app security?

Exploiting unprotected binary code in mobile gaming apps allows hackers to do the following:

  • Piracy – they make unauthorized copies of a mobile gaming app and distribute it for free without your control, also circumventing the in-game purchases.
  • Cheating – they gain an unfair advantage beyond normal gameplay and share it with other players by uploading it to a cheating site, spoiling the fun for honest players.
  • Modding of apps – or modification; hackers alter one or more aspects of your mobile gaming app – e.g., the way it looks or behaves – diverting the game experience from what you have originally intended.
  • In-game currency hacking apps and services – they bypass the in-game currency paywall and access the in-game currency for free, robbing you of income.
  • Copycat and cloning of games – they make a full copy of your popular game to sell it by themselves under a different name.

How are piracy and cheating affecting gaming app security and businesses?

Denuvo analyzed the top 50 games on Google Play, scanning 64 cracking and cheating sites for available cheats or hacks. The results? Cheats were available for 86% of games, including the latest version of 80% of them. Tampered versions of 84% of games were also available and memory editor hacks were available for 22% of games.

But there is more. Some of the third-party global app stores host pirated versions of games. This not only denies legit developers their revenue but also misinforms the users who download a game that often contains malware.

As a result, this is what happens to mobile gaming apps:

  • Game balance disruption – a cheating player has different rules than the fair one, so (s)he gains an unfair advantage which disrupts the game balance.
  • Lost monetization and revenue – you are unable to make money on your game, be it from the purchases of access to it or the in-game purchases (mainly in the case of free mobile gaming apps).
  • Reputational damage and lowered ratings – users who download cloned or copycat versions of the game that contain malware get frustrated and spread the bad word about the game, sometimes leaving a poor rating and negative reviews on the app stores. The same happens when your game becomes known as struggling with cheaters.
  • Decreased downloads – a game that has the reputation of struggling with cheaters is less likely to be downloaded by users, as they do not want to invest their time in a game where other players have an unfair advantage.
  • Competition with copycat and clone games – honest developers are forced to compete with hackers who copied their intellectual property for profit.

 

5 killer reasons you need to protect your mobile gaming app

Why protecting your mobile gaming apps is so important?

How can you protect your mobile gaming app?

When it comes to mobile gaming protection, you need to remember that there are many different angles of hacker attack, so it is important that you have multiple layers of security. Optimal game cybersecurity means securing your app against client-side attacks, network attacks and server-side attacks.

Since attackers usually aim for the weakest element, every part needs equal attention. But perfect mobile gaming app security can only happen on the server side. So, game developers should aim at putting as many important parts of the game on the server as possible, thus minimizing the risk of hacker attacks. But since it is not possible to achieve it 100%, game publishers should protect their gaming apps using mobile gaming protection software.

Using anti-tamper solutions allows you to increase your gaming app security. The best solutions profile each game to find the best location with the least impact on game performance. This is then combined with static analysis data to find the optimal protection setup. Final performance optimization ensures there’s no in-game performance degradation. Finally, automated alerts detect when profiling data is out of date and updates are needed.

Is anti-tamper protection working at all?

Our experience shows that integrating this extra layer of mobile gaming protection immediately stops cheaters from doing what they have been doing, increasing your gaming app security.

Is it difficult to integrate mobile gaming protection?

It depends on the provider. If the mobile app protection is inserted into the game code, it can take weeks. But if it is a ready-to-use extra layer that you can integrate on top of your ready-to-publish mobile game, then you can do the integration very quickly. This is the case with our solution.

Does mobile gaming protection impact game performance and gaming experience?

The top gaming app security software has minimal, negligible impact on performance or the user’s gameplay experience, while still guaranteeing no false positives and maximum detection.

How much does mobile app protection cost?

Protecting your mobile gaming app from piracy and tampering is more affordable than you think. And if you compare the cost of such an investment with the cost of lost revenue due to hackers offering your game for free, cloning it for their own monetization or circumventing the in-game purchases, implementing a game cybersecurity system into your mobile game becomes a logical move.

Denuvo offers flexible payment models, e.g., a lump sum paid upfront or payments based on the actual sales volume of your gaming app.

How do I get started protecting my mobile game?

It is simple: reach out to us and start a conversation!