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A systematic classification of cheating in online games

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NullPointerException

Abstract

Cheating is rampant in current game play on the Internet. However, it is not as well understood as one might expect. In this paper, we summarize the various known methods of cheating, and we define a taxonomy of online game cheating with respect to the underlying vulnerability (what is exploited?), consequence (what type of failure can be achieved?) and the cheating principal (who is cheating?). This taxonomy provides a systematic introduction to the characteristics of cheats in online games and how they can arise. It is intended to be comprehensible and useful not only to security specialists, but also to game developers, operators and players who are less knowledgeable and experienced in security. One of our findings is that although cheating in online games is largely due to various security failures, the four traditional aspects of security - confidentiality, integrity, availability and authenticity - are insufficient to explain it. Instead, fairness becomes a vital additional aspect, and its enforcement provides a convincing perspective for understanding the role of security techniques in developing and operating online games.