When you think “prison camp,” you probably don’t picture a place resembling summer camp, with arts and crafts, hiking, swimming, and playing games. But in the Jixi prisoner labor camp in the coalmines of northeast China, they break rocks all day and play games at night.

Online games often reward players who accumulate a certain quantity of in-game points with cash payouts. Guards at this particular prison camp forced prisoners to do 12-hour shifts playing games, on top of their manual labor.

One former Jixi prisoner told The Guardian, “If I couldn’t complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things.”

These prisoners were “gold farming,” monotonously repeating basic tasks within online games like World of Warcraft, in order to build up virtual currency. Gamers around the world are willing to pay real money in exchange for online credits, speeding up their progress within the game.

People in many developing countries have turned to gold farming in order to support themselves, but up to 80% of the world’s gold farmers are based in China, where as many as 100,000 people work around the clock to earn virtual points.

Game operators lose profits due to forced labor gold farming, and while they certainly want to stem their losses, they also have a humanitarian responsibility to the victims of this crime. iovation’s ReputationManager 360 is a proven service that helps protect against chargebacks, virtual asset theft, gold farming, code hacking, and account takeovers. The service identifies devices and shares their reputation as they are interacting with the game – setting off alerts that could relate to velocity triggers, geolocation, device anomalies, past gold farming abuse, financial fraud and lots more.

Many leading gaming publishers have been using iovation’s device reputation service for years to prevent game abuse upfront and ensure that their players have a safe and fun experience. These gaming publishers and iovation continually share information, the latest trends and best practices in order to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

Robert Siciliano, personal security and identity theft expert contributor to iovation, discusses credit card fraud on NBC Boston. Disclosures

Be Sociable, Share!