OWASP Game Security Framework

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(from OWASP Game Security Framework (GSF) project page)

The OWASP Game Security Framework (GSF) represents a modular approach to understanding the security issues that surround video game ecosystems.

In 2016 the videogame market became a $99.6 Billion industry… any why shouldn’t it be? Some of the most prolific and complex software developed today are video games. They are professionally played, sponsored, scrutinized, monetized, and celebrated, just like many sports. They handle clients, servers, web components, monetary transfers, social interactions, virtual markets, etc., with just as much need for security that most internet hosted apps have (if not more in some cases). The GSF is designed to help threat model gaming issues that have devastated new games. Most importantly, we hope the GSF can help new developers and security testers alike root out bugs in your favorite titles.

The framework is broken into three main concepts / sections:

1) Identifying and clustering the components of risk within the overall game security space, and then giving instances of each component.

Components include the following:

  • Attack Surfaces: the various surface areas that can be attacked by attackers in order to cause harm to the gaming ecosystem.
  • Vulnerabilities: the specific weaknesses in design or implementation that allows attackers to successfully target a given game.
  • Attacker Goals: a list of the reasons that an attacker might want to attack a given game.
  • Negative Outcomes: a collection of ways that the gaming company could ultimately be impacted negatively by attacks to its game and associated infrastructure.

2) A natural language semantic structure for thinking about and articulating game security issues, which uses the modular risk components as sentence structure.


“The attacker attacked and edited the LOCAL GAME CLIENT (Attack Surface), which had a LACK OF CLIENT INTEGRITY CONTROLS (Vulnerability), which allowed her to ARTIFICIALLY INCREASE HER ABILITIES (Attacker Goal), ultimately leading to an UNHAPPY PLAYER BASE (Negative Outcome) and DECLINING GAME REVENUE (Negative Outcome) , which could have been prevented by DEFENSE.”

Using this structure, security testers can clearly communicate the various aspects of a game security issue to many different types of stakeholder—from pentesting peers to business executives in the gaming industry.

3) Examples of real-world examples of previous attacks against games, and how the attacks map to the GSF framework components.


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