Dark gold: Statistical properties of clandestine networks in massively multiplayer online games

Brian Keegan*, Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmed, Dmitri Williams, Jaideep Srivastava, Noshir Contractor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gold farming is a set of illicit practices in which players in massively multiplayer online games gather and distribute virtual goods for real money. Using anonymized data from a popular online game to construct networks of characters involved in gold farming, we examine the trade networks of gold farmers, their trading affiliates, and uninvolved characters at large. Our analysis of these complex networks' connectivity, assortativity, and attack tolerance indicate that farmers exhibit distinctive behavioral signatures which are masked by brokering affiliates. Our findings are compared against a real world drug trafficking network and suggest similarities in both organizations' network structures which reflect similar effects of secrecy, resilience, and efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - SocialCom 2010
Subtitle of host publication2nd IEEE International Conference on Social Computing, PASSAT 2010: 2nd IEEE International Conference on Privacy, Security, Risk and Trust
Pages201-208
Number of pages8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 29 2010
Event2nd IEEE International Conference on Social Computing, SocialCom 2010, 2nd IEEE International Conference on Privacy, Security, Risk and Trust, PASSAT 2010 - Minneapolis, MN, United States
Duration: Aug 20 2010Aug 22 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings - SocialCom 2010: 2nd IEEE International Conference on Social Computing, PASSAT 2010: 2nd IEEE International Conference on Privacy, Security, Risk and Trust

Other

Other2nd IEEE International Conference on Social Computing, SocialCom 2010, 2nd IEEE International Conference on Privacy, Security, Risk and Trust, PASSAT 2010
CountryUnited States
CityMinneapolis, MN
Period8/20/108/22/10

Keywords

  • Assortativity
  • Attack tolerance
  • Cybercrime
  • Dark networks
  • Deviance
  • EverQuest 2
  • Gold farming
  • MMOG
  • MMORPG
  • Network analysis
  • Online games
  • Real money trade
  • Scale-free

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems

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