06 Online Games

Online Games

An online game is a game played over a computer network via the Internet. Online games range from normal text based to graphical based games. Simultaneously Players can play the same game. The main advantage of online games is the ability to connect to multiple games even though single player is online. Based on technology the games are also become more complex the technology related games like flash games and java games became more popular.

There are free online games and commercial games, most of the popular games are enclosed with end user license agreements and limited to access by the creators of games and the breaking of the agreement range from warning to termination.

Online gambling is now also very popular. People play casino-like games, lotteries, and bet sporting events like any form of gambling, the risks include addiction and the potential rapid loss of any funds invested in the game

There are massively multi-player online games like real time strategy games, role playing game, first person shooter games and many more as new technologies and high-speed internet connections have helped online gaming. Because gamers invest large amounts of time and money in today’s sophisticated games, others see an opportunity for mischief or illicit profit. The technological and social risks of online games should be understood by anyone who enjoys them. These include the following:

  • Risks from social interactions with strangers who may trick you into revealing personal or financial information
  • Risks from computer intruders exploiting security vulnerabilities
  • Risks from online and real-world predators
  • Risks from viruses, Trojan horses, computer worms, and spyware

Online Gaming Risks :

There are a lot of choices exist in today’s online gaming environment. Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games has emerged as popular genre of games. Most allow players to create online identities as game characters who participate in virtual adventures, which sometimes cross into the real world. For example, gamers sell virtual game items for real-world money in markets such as Flipkart, Amazon etc. In some games, there is a user-created, virtual world where people use real money to create or purchase personal property in their online world. This has created an opportunity for a new type of criminal activity called “virtual crime.”

In general, online gaming may involve both social risks and technological risks. Thus, many online gaming risks are similar to those computer users may have already encountered, but they may not have realized that the games pose another opportunity for the compromise of their privacy or computer security.

Tip: Be careful about copyright issues when you download software, games, books etc.

Technology Risks  Social Risks

Malicious Software

  • Viruses may arrive as attachments through shared email IDs as messages or via instant messaging programs.
  • Malicious programs may be hidden in game files you download or software you install.
  • Malicious individuals may also take advantage of the social networks associated with online games that rely on chat, email, or even voice communication.
  • They then use this software for a variety of illicit purposes.

Insecure or Compromised Gamer Servers

  • Gamer concerns: If the software on the game server has been compromised, computers that connect to it can be compromised also.
  • By exploiting vulnerabilities, malicious users might be able to control your computer remotely and use it to attack other computers or install programs such as Trojan horses, adware, or spyware, or gain access to personal information on your computer.

Insecure Game Coding

  • Some game protocols – the methods for communicating game information between machines – are not implemented as securely as other protocols. Game code may not be as well scrutinized as more popular commercial software.

Social Engineering
Malicious individuals may try to trick you into installing software on your computer that they can use to control your computer, monitor your online activities, or launch attacks against other computers. They may, for instance, direct you to phony web sites offering bogus patches or game downloads that, in reality, are malicious software

Identity Theft
If a malicious individual can gather information about you from the profiles you create in games and other sources, they may be able to use it to establish accounts in your name, resell it, or use it to access your existing financial accounts.

Cyber Prostitution
In the game “The Sims Online,” an MMO, a “cyber-brothel” was developed by a 17-year old boy using the game alias “Evangeline.”4 Customers paid sim-money (“Simoleans”) for cybersex by the minute.

Virtual Mugging
The term “virtual mugging” was coined when some players of Lineage II used software applications that run over the web, called bots, to defeat other player's characters and take their items.

Virtual Sweatshop
The virtual economies of some online games and the exchange of virtual items and currency for real money has spawned the virtual sweatshop, in which workers in the third-world countries are economically exploited by people seeking to find new ways to profit from the new online economies.

 Things to be noted while downloading the games

  • Study the rating of an online game, frequently they will let you know if it is suitable for your age.
  • Read the terms and conditions of the sites that you use and check if there are special safety features for children.
  • It  is  important and  make  sure  that  game  vendor is  reputable  and download the game from trusted web sites.
  • Sometimes free  download  games  conceal  malicious  software  ,  this includes plug-ins required to run a games, administrative mode to open a game which is not advisable , by doing this you open yourself to the risk that an attacker could gain complete control of your computer, it is always safe to play in a user mode rather than the administrative mode.
  • When playing an online game it is best to play it at the game site , this may reduce the risk and end up with a malicious web site.

Guidelines for Online Games

  • Create a family e-Mail address for signing up for online games. Screenshots: If anything bad happens while playing online games, take a screen shot using the "print screen" button on the keyboard of those displayed things on the screen and report it to the concerned web site ad use the screen shot as evidence.
  • Use antivirus and antispyware programs.
  • Be cautious about opening files attached to e-Mail messages or instant messages.
  • Verify  the  authenticity  and  security  of  downloaded  files  and  new software.
  • Configure your web browsers securely. Use a firewall.
  • Set up your user profile to include appropriate language and game content for someone your age.
  • Set time limits for children.
  • Never download software and games from unknown websites.
  • Beware of clicking links, images and pop ups in the web sites as they may contain a virus and harm the computer.
  • Never give personal information over the Internet while downloading games.
  • Some free games may contain a virus, so be cautious and refer while downloading them.
  • Create and use strong passwords.
  • Patch and update your application software

References

 

Address

Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, (C-DAC)
Plot No. 6 & 7, Hardware Park, Sy No. 1/1, Srisailam Highway, Pahadi Shareef Via Keshavagiri (Post) Hyderabad - 500005

Phone

Phone: 040-23737124/25
Mobile: 040-23737124/25

TollFree

1800 425 6235

Email Address

isea[at]cdac[dot]in