Games companies have been urged to improve their cybersecurity practices amid concerns over compromised accounts.
Research published by Israeli cybersecurity firm Kela shows that credentials belonging to nearly half-a-million employees are available for sale on the dark web following third-party data breaches.
Kela researchers said they investigated some of the top publicly-listed companies in the gaming sector according to revenue. Among these were Activision Blizzard, Take-Two Interactive and Electronic Arts.
“Kela has been monitoring the major underground markets of this type for over 2.5 years and has tracked nearly 1 million compromised accounts of employee- and client-facing resources of the 25 major gaming companies in question – with half of them being listed for sale in 2020 alone,” the report states.
Researchers found an abundance of compromised accounts openly available to cybercriminals on the dark web – often for as little as $10.
Nearly one million employee accounts were available for sale in various marketplaces, researchers found. Many of these accounts were customer service-oriented accounts.
According to Kela researchers, many compromised accounts offer access to internal tools and software at a host of companies.
“They could be leveraged by a sophisticated actor to gain initial network access to the relevant corporate’s network,” the report stated.
Companies could be placing themselves at great risk of cyber-attack by not addressing the issue, the report warned. Increasingly, gaming companies represent prime targets for cybercriminals due the volume of critical consumer data they process and hold.
In recent months, the cybersecurity firm said it had tracked no less than four sophisticated ransomware attacks on high-profile gaming companies.
“We also detected an infected computer (bot) which had credential logs to plenty of sensitive accounts that could be accessed by attackers upon purchase: SSO, Kibana, Jira, adminconnect, service-now, Slack, VPN, password-manager and poweradmin of the company – all on a single bot,” the report notes.
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According to researchers, this gaping security hole could be used by a single employee of the company that holds administrator rights. “This highly valuable bot was available for sale for less than $10,” they said.
Kela warned that gaming companies must improve cybersecurity practices and boost investment in protection. Crucially, however, staff training must be a key focus moving forward so as to prevent basic mistakes leading to significant issues.