PHL gaming operators told to prioritize security risks

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GAMING COMPANIES catering to Filipino players should prioritize addressing security risks, including location information, to ensure the integrity of their transactions, app development and mobile security platform provider Appdome, Inc. said.

“Because the Philippines has legalized and regulates online gambling, this is an important revenue stream for the country,” Appdome Mobile App Security Evangelist Jan Sysmans said in an e-mail interview.

“It is critical that operators here are equipped to face security risks, especially around location verification,” he added.

He said that location is fundamental to the integrity of in-app transactions, as it provides transaction traceability and supports know-your-customer (KYC) requirements critical to fighting fraud and scams.

Gambling and lottery apps rely on geographic location data to ensure their mobile applications are accessible only within authorized areas, he noted.

However, there are various risks that attackers could exploit.

“Attackers can tamper with global positioning system (GPS) signals or sensors, providing false location information, which compromises app functionality and revenue generation. These fake GPS apps allow attackers to manipulate authentic location providers via geo-location spoofing, license control bypass, and evasion of geo-fencing requirements,” he said.

“Unauthorized virtual private network (VPN) use also introduces risks by allowing users to hide their true IP (internet protocol) addresses, enabling malicious activities such as bypassing geo-restrictions, accessing restricted content, conducting man in the middle attacks, among others,” he added.

With this, Mr. Sysmans said it is “critical” that gaming companies catering to Filipino players understand their compliance obligations.

“With threat actors getting more sophisticated and the growth in mobile channels, net-net geo-location compliance is essential. Ultimately, this is crucial to fighting against fake GPS apps, fake accounts, unauthorized VPNs, SIM (subscriber identity module) swapping schemes, hooking frameworks, GPS signal spoofing, or manipulating sensors such as the gyroscope or accelerometer,” he said.

“Operators more generally also need to ensure their mobile apps come with comprehensive security features to safeguard sensitive user data and prevent unauthorized access to the app,” he added.

Appdome is an app development and mobile security platform provider. It has over 300 solutions spanning mobile app security, mobile fraud, malware and cheat prevention, and mobile bot defense.

For the first quarter, the country’s gross gaming revenue rose by 18.5% to a record-high of P81.7 billion based on Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. data. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave