The Case of the Billion-Dollar Game

By August 12, 2022 Case Study

Online games are big business. They can take a considerable amount of time and require the minds and energy of several incredibly talented people to build them. However, if successful, they can pay off big time.

Billions of dollars are made by companies worldwide that have crafted these games, playable on various electronic devices.

A few years back, one company introduced a new multiplayer online game that became so popular that in just over two years, this company made over one billion dollars on just this one game. Further, it was just one of several others already released or planned to be released.

The Situation with the Billion-Dollar Game

With all the time, energy, and big money at stake, you can imagine how concerned a smallgame California company became when it found out someone claimed to have an unreleased copy of one of their games. This organization was at a loss regarding what to do and how to protect itself against this threat.

The first question to be addressed was whether the allegation – that someone had an unauthorized version of the game – was even true. In November 2020, a leading Japan-based game software maker announced that 350,000 pieces of data – not only about their games but customer information – were compromised by computer hackers.

This online gaming manufacturer was a small, tightly-knit organization. They worked with a select and carefully chosen group of software engineers in various parts of the world whom they believed they could trust.

To start the investigation, they looked to see if the company’s computer systems had been hacked. If such a thing happened to this small Southern California company, it would cripple them for years or put them out of business altogether. Fortunately, they were safe. But what about the allegation? Did someone steal their internet game?

Enter TAL Global

TAL Global was called to investigate the software company’s predicament. After a meeting with the client, TAL Global was tasked to determine the following:

  • Did an unauthorized version of the latest unreleased game exist outside the company?
  • If so, who had it, and where were they located?
  • How did they get the copy?
  • What steps could be taken quickly to prevent its release?

Computer forensics is often confused with cybersecurity. However, the two are considerably different. To address the situation, TAL Global brought in a computer forensics team. A tall order with few if any leads.

Cybersecurity is focused on preventing computer hacks from taking place.

On the other hand, computer forensics is reactive. Investigators are called in after a hack has occurred. The goal is to determine the damage’s extent, who the criminals are, how they broke in, and what steps should be taken next.

In this situation, allegations that the game was stolen were unfounded. The game was safe; it had not been stolen.

The forensic investigation further found that none of the people involved with the project had

released any information or had a copy of the program. Nor were the gaming company’s computers hacked. As you can imagine, all this relieved this company.

Why TAL Global

As of 2019, there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds happening somewhere worldwide. That year, there were 3,800 publicly disclosed security breaches. Likely, thousands more remained undisclosed.

Many organizations have already taken advanced steps to protect their data and critical information. Yet, hackers still breached their systems.

Computer forensics is a very specialized service requiring very skilled investigators. When called in to provide this service, along with finding the culprits, our goal at TAL Global is to help our clients recover from this situation, learn from it, and help them prevent it from occurring again.

Please feel free to talk to us for more information on our services.

© TAL Global, 2019