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Hackers Ask Vice To Blackmail EA Games For Them

Another half-baked ransomware scheme wants EA to pay up

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Mass Effect's Illusive Man smoking a cig and looking out into space.
Screenshot: EA

Last month, hackers stole sensitive information from FIFA and Battlefield 2042 publisher Electronic Arts, including source code for the company’s proprietary Frostbite game development engine. Now, the hackers appear to be dumping pieces online to pressure EA into paying them off, according to a new report by Motherboard.

“Few week ago we send email for ransome [sic] to EA but we dont get any response so we will posting the src [source],” reads one of the hackers’ forum posts, Motherboard reports.

The site also says it viewed a copy of a 1.3GB compressed file the hackers released which includes “references to internal EA tools and the company’s Origin store.” If EA doesn’t start paying up the group has threatened to leak even more stolen data.

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The gaming publisher confirmed as much in a new statement to Motherboard.

“We’re aware of the recent posts by the alleged hackers and we are analyzing the files released,” a spokesperson for EA said. “At this time, we continue to believe that it does not contain data that poses any concern to player privacy, and we have no reason to believe that there is any material risk to our games, our business or our players.”

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The company added that it’s implemented new security measures since the breach and is continuing to work with law enforcement to catch those responsible.

The EA hack is just one of several recent ransomware attacks at big gaming companies. Hackers claimed to make off with over 1TB in stolen data from Capcom last year, resulting in potential leaks of several big games, like Street Fighter 6 and Dragon’s Dogma 2, that the company may be working on but which haven’t officially been revealed yet. Earlier this year, Cyberpunk 2077 maker CD Projekt Red was also hit and—in the midst of E3 last month—finally confirmed that the breach was severe enough to have possibly included personal worker and contractor info, in addition to sensitive data from its games. Hackers have claimed to have sold parts of that data as well.

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No one is entirely sure why these hacks are all happening now, but it certainly seems that much of it may have to do with the work from home setups we’ve seen as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Capcom said as much in its report on its own data breach, citing “the growing burden on the Company’s network stemming from the spread of COVID-19” as a key factor.

Many of the operations don’t appear to be super sophisticated either, at least on the ransom side. Motherboard reports that, at least in EA’s case, the hackers involved actually tried to get the website to blackmail the gaming publisher on their behalf.

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Motherboard declined to do so. Now, the hackers have publicly aired their extortion attempt themselves.”

Genius level shit.