Hacking has been one of the hottest stories of the year. From Wikileaks uncovering Government documents, to News of the World journalists breaking into the phones of celebrities, the story of security breaches has dominated the headlines.
But A-listers and political bodies weren’t the only victims – the games world was rocked by hackers throughout 2011.
In April hackers retrieved the login data and passwords of 77m users of Sony’s PlayStation Network. It was the most high profile hacking, but there were multiple security breaches that hurt the industry this year.
Anonymous hacking group LulzSec took responsibility for a host of security-breaching distributed denial-of-service attacks, which besieged notable platform holders and publishers, including Nintendo, Bethesda, Epic Games and BioWare.
Websites, forums and even video games themselves were affected. Popular online titles such as Minecraft and EVE Online were taken down in an instant, and millions of usernames and passwords were snatched at the click of a keyboard button.
But LulzSec insisted it was hacking some systems with good intentions. It highlighted security gaps in the NHS’ online infrastructure and handed the stolen details of 200,000 Brink players back to Bethesda.
Still, try telling that to Codemasters, whose website is still down. Or Valve, who just last month confirmed that its Steam network was hacked and a database of personal user information was obtained.
Eventually, the police moved in and LulzSec ended its activities. But this was a warning to the global games industry. And it was all too easy for hackers.
The games industry is moving towards digital and online business models. COD Elite and EA’s Origin service the latest to join the fray.
It’s now down to games publishers and companies to act to ensure their online infrastructures and the security systems that protect them are watertight. Because today, the safety of user information is more important than ever before.