According to reports, hackers have successfully breached the internal servers of Electronic Arts, a giant of the gaming industry that has published iconic games such as Battlefield, The Sims, and the FIFA and Madden franchises.
According to Motherboard, the hackers stole 780 gigabytes of game source code and other related “internal tools.”
A source with access to the various underground hacker forums, some of which are locked from public view, provided Motherboard with screenshots of the messages, according to VICE, with hackers reportedly claiming that “You have full capability of exploiting on all EA services.”
“In those forum posts the hackers said they have taken the source code for FIFA 21, as well as code for its matchmaking server,” continued VICE. “The hackers also said they have obtained source code and tools for the Frostbite engine, which powers a number of EA games including Battlefield.”
Also part of the 780 gigabytes of stolen data are “proprietary EA frameworks and software development kits (SDKs),” which streamline game development. According to these underground hacking forums, this data is now for sale.
EA reportedly confirmed the data breach to Motherboard, and that the information listed was indeed stolen by hackers.
“We are investigating a recent incident of intrusion into our network where a limited amount of game source code and related tools were stolen,” an EA spokesperson told Motherboard in a statement. “No player data was accessed, and we have no reason to believe there is any risk to player privacy. Following the incident, we’ve already made security improvements and do not expect an impact on our games or our business. We are actively working with law enforcement officials and other experts as part of this ongoing criminal investigation.”
As the BBC explained, “Source code is a version of computer software which is usually much easier to read and understand than the end version in a finished product, and could be used to reverse engineer parts of the product.”
“For example, the Frostbite engine, which hackers claim to have the source code for, is a powerful game creation tool used in dozens of games, from FIFA to the Battlefield series and several recent Star Wars games from EA,” the BBC continued, adding that “[t]he source code for the engine could hold significant value for an unscrupulous developer willing to copy it, or for those making cheat codes and hacks for games.”
In 2020, there were two high-profile hacking attacks on gaming companies. In November, Capcon was hit with a ransomware attack that “may have revealed the personal information of up to 350,000 people,” while in February, CD Projekt Red — the developer of Cyberpunk — was also hit with a ransomware attack, “which resulted in the source code for several games being stolen and auctioned off online,” with the hackers claiming to have sold the data for more than $7 million.
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