In the United States, more than 312m are active online, with many of those playing games online.
Indeed, the online gaming market is set to be worth €3.3 billion by 2024, and whilst online gaming has plenty of benefits, it also comes with risks, mainly focused on cyber security. There’s little wonder most reputable web design firms prioritise safety, and nowhere is this more evident than in the booming iGaming industry. Online security is a major concern for users and authorities, and cyber threats through gaming are becoming increasingly common.
That’s clearly a big risk in gaming spaces where a currency is exchanged. For instance, you might buy points or credits for your favorite titles, which exposes you to risk. Indeed, the iGaming industry is one that is particularly targeted. By iGaming, we mean online casinos and poker, where money is exchanged and wagered. With that in mind, we are going to look at how online gaming and iGaming apps and companies work hard to protect their customers and keep one step ahead of the crooks.
The first indication that a website takes its security seriously is in its URL. Most general websites like news portals or your favourite sports club begin with ‘HTTP’. But when it comes to money and finances, companies should apply for what is known as an SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and sites with this accreditation have URLs beginning HTTPS, which means they have established a secure wall to protect your data. It means all your personal details are encrypted and cannot be hacked into, and your personal data is transferred to secure and firewall-protected servers located where the website is based. And how safe are these procedures? They are on par with the latest technologies used by local and international banks.
This is the transition from window shopping to customer. The best online apps and websites require players to input their personal information and a password to register. Passwords can be difficult – with so much of our lives taking place online, it can be difficult to keep track of all our accounts and passwords, but when it comes to our money, it pays to be that more careful. To add another layer of security, the casino may ask a security question which only the player will be familiar with. For example, should someone be able to hack the app, a qualifying personal question could put paid to any but the most skilled of hackers.
Some people who play online poker look to get around the system by having more than one hand at a table. For example, they may play with a smartphone and from their desktop simultaneously on different accounts – this would allow them to control more of the table and get an unfair advantage. Savvy apps and websites have sophisticated servers that can identify players’ locations. Similar ISPs, for example, would raise the alarm bells and force them to take action. It is not in their interest to be gamed by cheats at the expense of more honest players just looking to have a good time.
This is also something used where microtransactions take place. For instance, players of EA Sports games can often buy and sell cards online, which opens the developer up to coin farming fraud. To protect themselves, they can implement location services, so transactions between players in close proximity, such as the same house or street, or monitored. This doesn’t necessarily protect the player, but it shields the developer from coin farming or players colluding with multiple accounts to gain an unfair advantage over others. It also protects the huge income earned from the in-game currency by ensuring third parties cannot buy and sell coins.
Random Number Generators
This is specific to iGaming, where the security risk could be the site itself. Almost all iGaming players know they are going to lose at some point; that is part of the game. But they need to be assured they stand a chance of winning, which is why RGNs come in. An RGN is generated every time a player hits spin on a slot machine or deal when playing blackjack. The RNG determines which numbers come up first, and independent external auditors frequently check the algorithms which govern these for accuracy. The results of these audits will be shown on the casino’s website and the Return to Players percentages. The RTP shows how much the casino pays out to customers, and if this is deemed to be insufficiently high, then action will be taken. This gives players the confidence that a win will always be just around the corner!