Cybercrooks steal code for Electronic Arts games including FIFA 21

EA Games has been HACKED: Cybercrooks steal source code for popular games including FIFA 21

  • Electronic Arts (EA) acknowledged the attack yesterday, following a Vice report
  • Among the files stolen was part of the source code for the Frostbite game engine
  • This powers many EA titles from the ‘Battlefield’ series to ‘Star Wars: Squadrons
  • EA have reassured that no private player data was stolen during the breach
  • They added that they have undertaken improvements to their security since

Hackers have stolen the source code for Electronic Arts (EA) games including FIFA21 and tools like the ‘Frostbite’ engine that powers titles such as the ‘Battlefield’ series.

The California-based video game company acknowledged the cybercrime on Thursday June 10, following a report from the news outlet Vice.

A spokesperson for EA, however, has said that the attackers did not access any private player data and that the breach is unlikely to affect their business operations.

Hackers have stolen the source code for Electronic Arts (EA) games including FIFA21 and tools like the ‘Frostbite’ engine that powers titles such as the ‘Battlefield’ series. Pictured: the EA games logo looms large over their executive vice president Patrick Soderlund at the Microsoft Xbox E3 2017 Briefing at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, California, back in 2017

The California-based video game company acknowledged the cybercrime on Thursday June 10, following a report from the news outlet Vice. Pictured: a screenshot from FIFA21, one of the games whose source code was stolen by the 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 Reuters in an emailed statement.

‘No player data was accessed and we have no reason to believe there is any risk to player privacy,’ they continued.

‘Following the incident, we’ve already made security improvements and do not expect an impact on our games or our business.’

EA also said that it was ‘actively working with law enforcement officials and other experts as part of [an] ongoing criminal investigation.’

According to Vice, hackers have been boasting online about the attack via underground internet forums, with one post saying they ‘have full capability of exploiting on all EA services.’

Furthermore, they reported, the hackers have been advertising the stolen software for sale across various dark web forums.

A spokesperson for EA has said that the attackers did not access any private player data and that the breach is unlikely to affect their business operations. Pictured: a screenshot from EA’s upcoming ‘Battlefield 2042’ game, powered by the Frostbite engine whose code was stolen

‘Anytime source code gets leaked, it’s not good,’ said cloud security architect Stuart Green of Isreal-based Check Point Software.

‘With such precious information in their hands, hackers can easily see the inner workings of a game, exploit security gaps and even reverse-engineer games for malicious purposes,’ he continued.

‘These malicious activities can scale if hackers proceed to sell their theft.’

‘Reports are out that the source code in the EA Games data leak is already being advertised on the darknet, which is not surprising as hackers are usually quick to monetise what they steal.’

‘Selling such proprietary information, like source code from EA Games, can net someone big money on the darknet.’

Among the files stolen was part of the source code for the Frostbite game engine which powers many EA titles, including the ‘Battlefield’ series. Pictured: Game enthusiasts and industry personnel watch scenes from ‘Battlefield One’ during the Electronic Arts EA Play event on June 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California

The news follows a wave of high-profile cyberattacks in recent months. 

These have included several ransomware attacks on industrial firms and health care facilities — as well as and breaches of government and non-profit networks  which experts have attributed to espionage efforts.

The attack on EA comes as major video game makers are on the brink of participating in the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which is running from June 12–15 this year and is being held virtually due to the pandemic.

CAN VIDEO GAMES MAKE YOU LESS EMPATHETIC?

In a recent study, researchers looked at the three games participants played most, and noted if they were of a violent nature (such as shooting game Call of Duty) or non-violent (such as Fifa).

They tracked the brainwaves of participants using electroencephalography (EEG).

At the same time they completed a ‘stop-signal task’ which contained male and female faces looking either happy or scared.

The study found gaming was linked to lower empathy and emotional callousness.

Researchers believe this is because it inhibits people’s ability to process emotional facial expression and control their responses as a result. 

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