Hackers Steal Source Code From Gaming Giant EA

Hackers broke into the system of major game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) and stole valuable information, the company said.

According to reports, the hackers managed to download source codes for games such as FIFA 21 and the proprietary Frostbite game engine of the company which is the base for many other high-profile games.

According to news site Vice, hackers stole about 780GB of data. The hackers did not steal any player data, EA said.

EA is among the largest games companies of the world. Among the titles it develops or publishes are world famous and major series such as Battlefield, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, The Sims, and Titanfall. EA also produces a large range of annual sports games.

“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 said in a statement. “No player data was accessed, and we have no reason to believe there is any risk to player privacy,” she added.

It had already improved security, the company said and added that the hack would not have any expected “impact on our games or our business”.

The company has already contacted law enforcement agencies.

EA added that the “network intrusion” was not a ransomware attack and that it had taken place recently.

Screenshots of the hacking forums used by the attackers were seen by it, Vice said in its report, as the hackers were advertising the data that had been stolen for sale.

Source code is a special version of computer software that is typically much easier to read and understand compared to the end version in a finished product. Source codes can also be used for reverse engineering parts of the product.

The Frostbite engine for example, is a powerful game creation tool that the company has used for dozens of games, from FIFA to the Battlefield series and several recent Star Wars games from EA, and the hackers have claimed to have gained access to its source code.

For an unscrupulous game developer who wants to copy the source code for the engine or for those developers intending to make cheat codes and hacks for games, securing the source code for the engine could have significant value.

However analysts believe that any mainstream competitor of EA would most likely never use such stolen data even if it got hands on one.

This hack is the latest in a slew of high profile hacks in gaming companies.

A ransomware attack which may have revealed the personal information of up to 350,000 people was faced by Capcom, the maker of Street Fighter and Resident Evil, in November last year.

Another ransomware attack that comprised of hackers stealing the source code for several games and then they were auctioned off online, was suffered by Cyberpunk developer CD Projekt Red in February.

(Adapted from BBC.com)

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