This book is amazing! Definitely the best resource out there for protecting games, both from technical and design standpoints. The time it would take to learn everything listed in the book using free resources available on the internet would be immense, and some information – such as how to properly deal with gold farmers – would have to be learned almost by trial and error.

The book also deals with some eye-opening facts, such as how terrorists are using game communication tools to avoid the NSA, and how to deal with that problem.

Overall the only issue I found with this book is that it’s from 2009, and the gaming landscape has changed a lot since then, with mobiles and free-to-play now becoming more prevalent than the traditional formats like MMORPG and match-based multiplayer. I’m not going to withhold a star from it due to this, because it’s no-one’s fault: the book was extremely comprehensive for its time and the advice it does contain is as relevant as ever (that is, the only fault is that it omits some new issues, but everything it has is still spot-on).

Fimbul  (Amazon review of Protecting Games book)


Amazing …Best resource from a technical and design perspective…

With the arrival of online gambling, massively multiplayer games and services like XBox Live come a much larger audience and a widening demographic scope. These players have helped turn the game industry into a money-making behemoth. As large and popular as this industry has become it has done a surprisingly poor job of addressing the darker side of gaming. Protecting Games attempts to solve this problem by shining a light on piracy, cheating, account theft, privacy, protecting children online and more.

The book is broken into four primary sections with piracy and cheating having the most obvious relevance. The latter two sections address social attacks from griefing to gold farming and finally a “Real World” section that seems to act as a catch-all covering relationships with third parties, real money transactions and even a brief chapter on terrorism.

The sections on piracy and cheating seem to make up the core of the book and carry with it interesting tips, anecdotes and in some cases psuedo-code that help illustrate a solution to the problem at hand. I actually walked away from these chapters feeling a bit depressed in regard to how monumental these security challenges are. It’s not that you’re left empty handed or unwarned. It’s just that you start to feel like you’re being attacked from all sides and quite frankly, you probably are. By this point in the book you’re ready for a change of pace and chapter 18 (which concludes the section on cheating) comes at the perfect time. Ironically for me, I was hoping for something different than the high score cheat case study which plagues many online Flash games and are of special interest to me. It’s only after devouring the chapter on network attacks that made me want to see more in that category.

What was most surprising was how game design can adversely affect security. By tweaking design documents early in the process there are some issues that can simply be mitigated instead of turning into real dollar problems that affect the integrity of the game and potentially turn away paying customers. Perhaps the author would consider changing the subtitle to “A Security Handbook for Game Developers, Designers and Publishers”. That being said, I should also mention that although the book is targeted toward those in the industry there’s incredibly useful information in this book for gamers and parents as well.

Protecting Games is an excellent security handbook albeit a slightly overwhelming one that deserves a place on the bookshelf of anyone involved in the process of creating games. It arms us with the knowledge we need to make the right choices while navigating through the process of not only an building an entertaining game but a secure one as well.

P. Peron (Amazon review of Protecting Games book)

Arms us with the knowledge we need

Steven has been an invaluable resource, advising us on a full spectrum of security and business issues related to our peer-to-peer MMO and unique game and IT concerns. He is the leading authority on game security today and his advice has already saved us untold time, money, and missteps. He clearly understands the business of online games and the needs of independent developers and publishers.

Kelly Rued
at Black Love Interactive LLC

Invaluable resource for security and business issues

Steven Davis is deeply informed on the increasingly important and complex security issues arising in the online gaming field. He has led the field in recognizing the connection between security and profitability. I have found his advice invaluable as a magazine writer and as a game designer.

Allen Varney
Owner/operator of the Bundle of Holding

“…recognizing the connection between security and profitability”

Steve is a true expert on the subject of game security. I’ve met many security consultants and many game consultants, but Steve is the only person I’ve found who can honestly claim to have expert knowledge in both areas, and an excellent understanding of how the two areas interact.

John West
CEO, Westech Media, LLC – President, Crazy Monkey Games

True security expert

Steven has consulted my start up company on gaming security, He has been very knowledgeable and helpful. I would certainly recommend Steven as he has shown extensive knowledge in this field.

Aaron Sims
VP of Business Development at Mountain Empire Agency Alliance

Knowledgeable and helpful for my startup

Steven’s knowledge of applied cryptograpy was really invaluable. And his advice helped us to choose different business solution, which turns to advantage and saved much time.

Alexander Haiduk
Software Engineer at Apple

Invaluable knowledge,saved us time

Steven’s take on security is very common sense- and business-driven, at the exact opposite of solution vendors trying to sell you a silver bullet.

His recommendations are generally simple and easy to implement, providing that relevant stakeholders in the development and operations of the game are committed to security from early on in the project : just like service design or marketing, it is not the problem of the specifically assigned department, and it can’t be added as an afterthought.

The book is not limited to technical risks, but also covers business and game design issues, and so can be read by anyone working in the games industry, not only technical people. Overall, it’s a very enjoyable read about the security game – the one played by your company, against an infinite horde of opponents armed with a lot of time, wits and resources.

(Review of Protecting Games at – D. Lagrange

Common sense and business driven security