[AntiCheat] Game Security: Spread, Spread, Spread

@codewiz · April 24, 2014 · 7 min read

#0

What can we do if Samsung Electronics shares are traded at 50,000 won in Seoul and at 80,000 won in Busan? Right. Even the owner of a vegetable store would buy Samsung Electronics shares in Seoul and sell them all in Busan. Because there's a profit margin of 30,000 won per share. It sounds absurd, but it was common in the past when communication technology was undeveloped. It was truly a time when information was money.

However, with the development of communication technology, such absurd situations no longer occur. Stock prices in the distant land of America are the same as in Somalia or South Korea. Of course, this doesn't mean such things are completely nonexistent today. Computers capture moments we are unaware of and make such trades happen. Anyway, we refer to the occurrence of such differences as "spread."

But spread is as important an issue in game security as timing. For solution providers, it is crucial to reduce the spread to near zero. They need to think about how to reduce it, and the product that minimizes the spread can be considered a good product. If the technical capabilities of the products are similar, spread management becomes an extremely important factor that can account for the entire reputation of the product.

#1

What is brilliantly shining in the night sky right now could be its appearance from six million years ago.

What is brilliantly shining in the night sky right now could be its appearance from six million years ago.

The first spread we encounter is the time spread. It refers to the time difference between hacking tools we collect and observe and those actually used in games. Sadly, most game security companies create patches that block hacking tools collected or reported by game companies and deliver them to the game companies. This seemingly problem-free process hides a huge pitfall: time. By the time a game company collects and passes the hacking tools to the security provider, those hacking tools are likely to be prehistoric.

This slow speed in tracking hacking tools is unworkable. So smarter security companies employ people to actively seek out hacking tools. Initially, part-time workers are hired to collect domestic hacking tools. As the sites multiply, they hire friends who speak Chinese, realizing that many hacking tools are manufactured in China. However, China isn't all there is. You realize you need to hire people who speak Thai to find Thai hacking tools; Hebrew speakers to find Hebrew hacking tools. Of course, anything is better than not doing it, but it is not easy to see tangible effects through such methods. Moreover, with the current revenue of game security companies, they'll go bankrupt if they keep this up—except for those whose dads are, say, Bill Gates.

So what should we do? We need to strengthen the backend system. The book "Writing Solid Code" suggests the idea that bugs need to come forward and introduce themselves, rather than us going out to find them. The work that game security providers need to do to control the time spread is similar. As someone creates a hacking tool, there should be a system that reports it automatically with a message like, "I am making a hacking tool right now; please take an interest." If someone is exploiting a vulnerability, it should automatically report, "I've found this vulnerability and am enjoying the spoils," allowing solution developers to take appropriate action.

In an ideal world, the system might operate in a way that automatically learns and adjusts the level of site control. But looking to achieve that standard in the real world is challenging. However, even if it just automatically reports the existence of a problem or how hacking tools are being created, it would provide a useful system for reducing time spread.

#2

We continuously check the security levels of all websites in every moment, hoping they all turn out AWESOME...

We continuously check the security levels of all websites in every moment, hoping they all turn out AWESOME...

The second spread that game security companies face is the security level spread. This isn't just a problem for game security; it's one of the most crucial aspects of all security-related issues. You can see why Windows made security update installation a default mandatory option. Even with constant security patches, users don't install and apply them, branding Windows a vulnerable operating system. It's the same with game security solutions. No matter how good the features and responses are, if they aren't supplied to the customer at the right speed, they're useless.

When discussing this, the typical response is, "Why is it hard? Isn't just distributing features easy? Creating functions is the difficult part." This is what people who've never worked in B2B say. It's not that simple. Especially if there's only one or two sites, it might be easy, but when there are 100, 200, 1000, 2000 sites, it becomes an entirely different problem. It's not only difficult to provide the same features to many sites, but also many customers don't apply updates, just like users who don't update security patches. And this issue depends entirely on the capacity of the support staff for each company.

One might suggest pressuring support staff to make customers apply patches, but this is a different issue altogether. There's a world of difference between delivering a patch and getting a customer to apply it. Anyone can deliver a patch, but not everyone can convince a customer to apply it. It's like giving someone a pen and asking them to sell it. Some can, some cannot. In this matter, the only answer is hiring excellent support staff.

However, just sitting back and thinking it's all down to the support staff's ability is problematic. There's a world of difference between something that can be tracked and monitored and something that cannot. And manually creating a tracking device for this is also an issue. It's prone to many errors and collects data slowly. All aspects should be automatically tracked and monitored. Only then can everyone accurately understand the current quality level of our service and decide how to further enhance certain areas.

#3

Over 160 different options can turn it into either a plain shell or an impregnable fortress, depending on these values.

Over 160 different options can turn it into either a plain shell or an impregnable fortress, depending on these values.

The last spread is the option spread. Knowing that we don't have many programmers and that there are risks involved in compiling code anew every time, we made sure that most functions were equipped with options. Nowadays, the notion prevails that where there's a feature, there must be an option. An abundance of options has the advantage of being able to solve certain issues quickly without the direct intervention of programmers.

However, as with the Force, there are both dark and light sides, and there are downsides to this as well. There's no problem if those controlling the options are skilled engineers, but if they are personnel who do not fully understand the exact operating structure of the options, the problem becomes serious. Because depending on how that person sets the options during patch creation, the product can become worthless or turn into a formidable battleship. Furthermore, without an automated tracking mechanism, personnel often forget they've changed options.

We need an automatic notification device that alerts us whenever a patch build is created with incorrect option settings. Additionally, it's important to have a system that allows us to track all sites' option statuses collectively.

#4

McDonald's is said to be the world's most famous burger shop for two reasons. One is that the Big Mac in Seoul and the Big Mac in New York taste acceptably similar. The other is that no matter how foolish the person is, they can produce a Big Mac of similar quality by simply following McDonald's procedures. While the fields are different, it could be said that McDonald's succeeded by properly controlling the spread and producing uniformly high-quality products. The same applies to game security.

How do you hide the hacking tool?<br><br>Run the hacking tool, cover it with paper so XIGNCODE3 can't see. LOL

How do you hide the hacking tool?

Run the hacking tool, cover it with paper so XIGNCODE3 can't see. LOL

The only game security solution that has been proven effective in both online and mobile environments is XIGNCODE3.

The only game security solution that has been proven effective in both online and mobile environments is XIGNCODE3.

@codewiz
Looking back, there were good days and bad days. I record all of my little everyday experiences and learnings here. Everything written here is from my personal perspective and opinion, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the organization I am a part of.
(C) 2001 YoungJin Shin, 0일째 운영 중