Cybersecurity & Privacy Concerns Hit Gamers Hard

Posted by Victor Z Glenn • Mar 22, 2024 8:30:00 AM

The recent hacking incidents within the Apex Legends esports community have sent shockwaves through the gaming world, raising critical questions about cybersecurity, privacy and brand safety in esports. As hackers injected "cheat tools" into the game during live streams of the Apex Legends Global Series, Electronic Arts was compelled to take swift action, postponing the tournament and prompting a thorough investigation into the cyberattack. As “tools” become more popular additions to games, and sponsorable by brands, the implications of such breaches become worrisome, to say the least.   Beyond mere gameplay disruptions, this activity is casting a shadow over the competitive integrity of esports events and the safety & security of players, audiences, and brands alike.

The severity of these cybersecurity breaches underscores the urgent need for robust measures to safeguard brand integrity and user trust within the gaming ecosystem. Despite assurances from Easy Anti-Cheat, the service EA Games uses to patrol and protect Apex, questions persist regarding the vulnerabilities exploited by hackers, here, and in other gaming/events. The hacks, which took place during this high-viewership event and several live-streams, have players and organizers grappling with uncertainty about how to control and moderate this issue proactively.

One potential theory, voiced in numerous YouTube videos on the occurrences, is that the hacks were actually an attempt by the perpetrators to highlight the need for more stringent security measures and better tools. The postponement of the North America finals for the Global Series championship underscores the gravity of the situation, compromised competitive integrity on the esports landscape. As esports continue to gain prominence and attract significant investments, ensuring brand safety and cybersecurity must remain paramount priorities for stakeholders across the gaming industry.

In the face of these challenges, transparency and proactive communication are essential for restoring confidence and mitigating reputational risks. Players, organizers, and publishers are near unanimous, in calling for comprehensive/ preventive measures from Respawn and Electronic Arts, among others, to address these cyberattacks. As the gaming community navigates these turbulent waters, collaborative efforts between industry stakeholders, security & safety experts, and regulatory bodies are imperative to fortify defenses against future threats and uphold the integrity and safety of esports competitions – only then can the industry chart a path towards a more resilient and secure gaming environment, where players can compete with confidence, audiences can engage with peace of mind, and advertisers can invest safely. 

Topics: Brand Safety, Knowing Your Partners, security, gaming, digital advertising, esports, mobile gaming, advergames, hacking, cyber security