Exploring Security Risks in Virtual Economies

Caroline Kiondo, Stewart Kowalsk, Louise Yngström
A most recent, phenomenon within new socio-ecosystems is the so called Virtual Economies. This paper presents an exploratory study of information security risks that are inherent with the Virtural Economies. A Dynamic Network Analysis Tools (DNAT) was used to perform a risk analysis in the Second life virtual world. The analysis indicates that the currency and user account are the most important assets. User accounts provide access to virtual trading and are critical to the flow of currency
more » ... in the virtual economy. The removal of both of these from the system will affect the dynamics of the system and defeat the whole purpose of the system. The analysis further identified selling and creation of virtual goods to be important tasks in order to maintain a successful Virtual Economy. If a threat occurs that manipulates the creation of virtual goods then it would affect the trading of virtual goods between the users of the system hence affecting the economy. It is important that users who invest in such an economy to be aware of possible risks associated with this. As the field expands and more internet communities adopt this business model all parties involved need to think of strategies to protect assets that exist within this type of environment.