SEOUL, KOREA — Online games that began to mushroom around 2002 are now being considered as one of the 21st century’s leisure cultures. Backed by high-speed Internet access and the spread of mobile phones, NEXUS: The Kingdom of the Winds (a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), developed by Nexon Inc. of Korea) set off an online game boom. Since then, the Diablo series based on bettle.net, StarCraft and MMORPG Lineage gained huge popularity in succession. The volume of the game industry encompassing both online and mobile games more than doubles the output of the movie and music industries combined. The game industry is growing at a faster clip every day. Korea is viewed as one of the global online game powerhouses as a growing number of Korean online game developers have exported their games to Southeast Asian nations, China, Taiwan, Japan, the US and the EU.
Online games know no boundaries: once you are connected to the Internet, you can play games with anyone in the world. Playing online games has indeed become a beloved pastime that can be reveled in by people of any age. Three billion hours per week are spent playing online games around the world and there are nearly 30 million online game users in Korea alone. As a result, as online games become more mainstreamed, the issue of security-related pitfalls such as hacking and malicious codes is coming to a head as online gaming’s Achilles heel.
Security Is of Importance to Online Games
According to the online security industry, hacking tools and malicious codes that take advantage of loopholes in operating systems and online game clients have shown explosive growth of late. Hacking technology that started simply as a malicious code that breaks into online game accounts by exploiting users’ carelessness is morphing into something altogether different. The so-called “online gamehack” wreaks direct havoc on game developers and users by removing security codes inserted into online game clients or attacking the soft spots in operating systems.
According to the Korea Internet Security Agency (KISA)’s 2011 reports on damage caused by malicious codes, 2,980 cases (or 13% of the total 21,751 reports on malicious codes) were related to hacking into online game accounts. The figure has been on a steady upward trajectory. In the first half of this year, malicious codes aimed to steal game account information from users in order to profit from in-game items and currencies raged. Stealing online game account information has been rapidly expanding in direct proportion to the growing popularity of online games.
Besides, as hacking tools and the types of cyber attacks evolve in a diversified manner in sync with the advancement of online game security programs, online game companies and online game users have been left vulnerable to cyberwarfare. Therefore, mounting preemptive countermeasures using specialized, online game security solutions are badly needed.
With continued growth in the online game market and ever-growing diversity in game genres, a plethora of hacking tools for profit are becoming smarter day by day. As online-game virtual assets can be converted into real money, security threats like user ID theft, cyber break-ins, and cyber scams are rampant.
The media has continuously underlined the threats coming from DDOS attacks, DB hacking, user ID theft, and malware. However, the game industry has stressed the importance of installing proper security tools that combat auto hunting programs threatening the cyber economy and a hodgepodge of hacking tools used by online hackers. Korean-made online game security tools, which are being briskly sold overseas along with Korea’s online games, are emerging as Korea’s major online security exports.
X-trap, a Firewall-type, Online Game Security Solution
Kevin Lee, CEO of Wiselogic (a Korean game security solution provider) introduced X-trap as Korea’s only firewall technology-based online game security solution.
He said, “Users’ dependence on tamper-prone clients (an application or system that accesses a service made available by a server) should be addressed to scale up online game security.
Our anti-hacking program (X-trap) is designed to shield game users from manifold cyber-attacks by installing a security module that monitors whether the game user is using a normal client.”
This online game security solution, which has been developed by Wiselogic, essentially works like a firewall. Wiselogic now owns the most optimized solution featuring kernel-level security technology and the minimum file volume of below 1 MB.
On top of that, X-trap comes with a web manager system that launches swift responses to macro virus attacks that has been previously unbeknownst to the Korean industry.
X-trap’s advanced services and support system guarantee prompt, multi-level responses to ever-evolving hacking tools (ranging from well-known malware to new, powerful hacking tools like cracks or non-client types).
X-trap, which reduces the dependence of hacking tools on databases, is equipped with a statistical tool that keeps track of hacking attempts, artificial errors and hacking-induced problems.
Moreover, X-trap allows online gamers to play in a safe, optimized environment. It offers technology support for varied anti-virus patches’ erroneous virus detection problems and raises security levels to address a variety of conflicts among different security programs. Also, game companies (clients) can get a hold of all of these security situations, both current and past, through X-trap’s monitoring tool.
Wiselogic Promises Airtight Fielding
Wiselogic is busy spurring up the development of security-related technologies that can disable new, variant hacking and cracking tools. Founded in 2005, Wiselogic is marking the eighth anniversary of its inception this year and is Korea’s No.2 online security solution purveyor, comprising 30% of the domestic online security solution market. Since its inception in 2005, this company has set its sights on online game security solutions. Wiselogic is the Korean game security industry’s hidden champion that has a track record of 250 sites and nearly 100 games developed by 50 companies under its belt. Games developed by Neowiz, CJ Internet Corporation, Hanbitsoft, and Windysoft run on Wiselogic’s security solution. 70% of Wiselogic’s business is being conducted in overseas markets.
Wiselogic takes great pride in its excellent development team packed with ample experience related to hardware and network consulting. Wiselogic absorbed the firewall development team of Uniwide Technologies that developed the Windows-based Unisecure Firewall, the only solution that received National Intelligence Service’s K4E accreditation. As a result, Wiselogic’s firewall solutions ensure unbreachable security that nips any access by malicious codes in the bud. Technology-rich Wiselogic is also taking part in the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s project for supporting and commercializing patented technologies. In partnership with Korea University, it is also carrying out a task to develop technologies that can foil cracking attempts on game clients through communications with game servers.
The Korean game security market is deemed to have entered the maturity phase. Yet, as the evolution of security threats has shown no signs of abating, online games should be fully armed with anti-hacking technologies. The game industry agrees that the previous client-led anti-hacking approaches are not enough. Given that the industry’s future endeavors for server-side protection are highly likely to kick into high gear, Wiselogic’s future moves are definitely warranting attention. As of now, the domestic online game security market is dominated largely by the following three programs: Inca Internet’s nProtect GameGuard (GG), Wiselogic’s X-trap, and AhnLab’s HackShield.