Friday, July 13, 2007

Security and Online Games

I've mentioned my ex-boyfriend Gary McGraw, now good friend, a couple of times before. He's an important figure in the software and Internet security world. He gives lots of talks and writes lots of books, most of which I only have a passing interest in as someone who uses the Internet and software. His latest book, however, is one I'm actually going to read. It's called Exploiting Online Games and it's all about how people cheat and hack in online games. Although I'm not a huge online gamer, when I have time, it's something I really enjoy. My son, Geeky Boy, is already hacking his way through several online games as is his little sister, Geeky Girl. And of course, I have several students who are avid gamers, both online and off. Online gaming and virtual worlds are becoming a big thing in education as well, so their security (or lack thereof) is an important issue for many of us.

I haven't gotten my hands on a copy yet, but I've seen the table of contents and bits of text here and there. The book covers how cheating in games works with enough details (it appears) to do it yourself, how money is made, legal issues, the problem with bugs, and a bit about how to protect yourself. Most of the book covers cheating and hacking, so if you're interested in hacking around a game, it looks like you'll get a sophisticated how-to lesson. Gary has posted the preface to the book on his on blog, which will give you a better idea of what the book is about. It's supposed to be out today, but Amazon is still saying pre-order, so maybe it goes online at 9 a.m. or something. When I get my copy, I'll post a more thorough review.