Game leaks are a devastating thing for any developer to experience. Not only does it kill hype, but it also leads to things like leaked company assets, breached company security, stolen personal information, and even outright game cancellations. But these leaks don’t happen by chance. All it takes is a few lapses in judgment for a data breach to occur.
Learn how you, as an aspiring game developer, can protect yourself by taking these precautions. They might not prevent every leak from occurring, but they will help mitigate the potential damage leaks may cause.
1) Use an internal network to prevent outside data breaches
Always have an internal network for your company. Not only does it make workflow easier, but it also limits the number of computers a hacker can breach into. The fewer computers determined hackers have access to, the fewer files they’re likely to steal.
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What's more, these internal networks allow you to monitor and regulate the flow of information. Not all leaks come from outside, and this type of surveillance helps you catch prying eyes accessing information that shouldn't be theirs to see.
2) Observe proper internet and computer safety protocols when accessing outside networks
For the few computers connected to outside networks, ensure that anyone who uses them practices proper computer safety etiquette. That means reminding them not to download weird things on office computers, not to access sketchy sites during work hours, and not to save sensitive information like log-in passwords and emails on computer desktops. These lapses in judgment could lead to potential issues, especially if a lax employee unintentionally downloads malware. This article written by Daniel Van Boom on CNET.com highlights how even small lapses of judgment can result in millions of assets stolen.
3) Use NDAs to limit potential leakers
Not every leak is the result of data hacks. Some are because people on the project are just naturally excitable. When people are especially proud of their work, a few might be tempted to brag to their friends and loved ones, where potential leaks and rumors can occur.
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To avoid these situations, be sure to remind your developers of the contracts they sign, especially if they have NDAs. While excitement is natural, remind them these leaks can be very damaging. Make it clear to your team that if word spreads out, it doesn't just hurt them as a team; it also hurts the very thing they’ve been working on.
4) Invest in good security programs to limit the effectiveness of ransomware/breaches
Keep computers up to date with anti-viruses and anti-ransomware programs. While these might not stop a determined virus from infecting computers, these types of programs help catch the majority of low-level malware and help keep your computers clean and your hard drive space. It might seem like a waste to have them if you and your team are thorough, but remember that an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cute. The presence of these programs might just save you the hassle of having information leak out.
5) Use proper data protection/encryption software
Some leaks aren’t the result of hacking or gossip. Some are just the result of enthusiastic fans prying into games and demos you’ve previously released. While these are mostly harmless, particularly determined fans might just stumble into old data if you don’t encrypt them properly.
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To combat this, just have better procedures for storing data. Unreleased assets are a given, but maybe delay updating your games with references to new content if you’re not confident it can be kept a secret. Your games are for your fans, and the last thing you want is for them to stumble on something that’ll ruin the prospect of new content.
6) Have a backup server/drive to restore data if needed
If all else fails and your systems are breached, always have a data backup. The hackers might have stolen the files, but as long as you back up your files, the damage they can do will be frustrating but minimal.
It’s important to recognize that no company is perfect, and no security measure is unbreakable. Despite your best efforts, vulnerabilities can still be present in your systems. By implementing these practical safety methods, you at least can reduce the risk these breaches present. While no system is foolproof, making use of these precautions will help protect your games, your company’s assets, and your reputation in the gaming industry
When things go south, take it as a learning experience, and learn how to adapt to better refine your security measures. Join Mega Cat Studios for the latest game development insights and updates, and follow us on social media to stay informed.
This article was written by Alexander Cuaycong