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League of Legends Source Code Hacked, Riot Refuses To Pay Blackmail

No player info was stolen but new cheats could be on the way

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A League character stands over a computer display pointing to the screen.
Image: Riot Games

On Tuesday, Riot Games announced that the source code for both League of Legends and Team Fight Tactics was stolen, and that it would not be paying the ransom demanded by hackers to get it back. It’s the latest in a spree of data breaches at big game companies, and means both games could be increasingly vulnerable to cheaters in the coming months.

“Over the weekend, our analysis confirmed source code for League, TFT, and a legacy anticheat platform were exfiltrated by the attackers,” Riot Games tweeted. “Today, we received a ransom email. Needless to say, we won’t pay.”

Riot Games revealed late last week that its systems had been “compromised” by a social engineering attack. While no player data or personal information had been taken, the company said the attack would slow down the release of upcoming patches for some of its games.

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As of today, the company hasn’t confirmed the exact methods the alleged attackers used to steal the source code for one of the most popular multiplayer games in the world, though “social engineering” could point to an employee accidently handing over login credentials to a stranger via a phishing scheme on another platform.

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This is how a hacker drained hundreds of millions in crypto currency from the NFT game Axie Infinity last year. The recent Rockstar Games hack leading to the unprecedented leak of in-development Grand Theft Auto VI materials is also rumored to have come about in a similar fashion, with the alleged hacker possibly infiltrating the company via a Slack login. Regardless of the methods, ransom hacks are clearly on the rise. Cyberpunk 2077 maker CD Projekt Red, and Elden Ring publisher Bandai Namco, are just a few of the other big name game companies that were hacked in recent years.

A spokesperson for Riot Games declined to comment further, but said the company would be publishing a full retrospective on the breach in the future, including the attack vectors” used by the hackers.

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“Since the attack, we’ve been working to assess its impact on anticheat and to be prepared to deploy fixes as quickly as possible if needed,” continued Riot Games in its tweet thread today. But the company revealed that the stolen builds also contained secret experimental new features for League of Legends and Team Fight Tactics, making it likely they could leak ahead of any official announcement.

“While we hope some of these game modes and other changes eventually make it out to players, most of this content is in prototype and there’s no guarantee it will ever be released,” Riot Games wrote.

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The company also said that it’s currently working with law enforcement in the investigation of the hack, and that it expects to have its systems fully restored by the end of the week, at which time game updates can begin resuming again as normal. Riot Games was one of a number of gaming and tech companies to cut jobs last week, laying off close to 50 employees.