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posted by martyb on Friday June 11, @01:46PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it's-only-a-game...of-cat-and-mouse dept.

Hackers Steal Wealth of Data from Game Giant EA:

"You have full capability of exploiting on all EA services," the hackers claimed in various posts on underground hacking forums viewed by Motherboard. A source with access to the forums, some of which are locked from public view, provided Motherboard with screenshots of the messages.

[...] In those forum posts the hackers said they have taken the source code for FIFA 21, as well as code for its matchmaking server. The hackers also said they have obtained source code and tools for the Frostbite engine, which powers a number of EA games including Battlefield. Other stolen information includes proprietary EA frameworks and software development kits (SDKs), bundles of code that can make game development more streamlined. In all, the hackers say they have 780gb[sic] of data, and are advertising it for sale in various underground hacking forum posts viewed by Motherboard.

[...] EA confirmed to Motherboard that it had suffered a data breach and that the information listed by the hackers was the data that was stolen.

It's not like they could use the source and SDK to release a new game. What's the point? To better understand how the games work and write cheats? Break the servers? How much is that really worth?

Also at SecurityWeek, BBC, and Ars Technica.


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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @01:58PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @01:58PM (#1144242)

    some guy that worked there got arrested for selling gatcha prizes in fifa
    retards spend millions of dollars on these things which is why some countries are looking into counting it as gambling

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @06:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @06:29PM (#1144332)

      For all practical purposes it is gambling, you put up stakes with a chance of winning a prize. There's nothing substantively different about it other than that it's a digital prize. Swap that for something that you could exchange for money and there wouldn't even be that fig leaf to hide behind.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by looorg on Friday June 11, @01:58PM (1 child)

    by looorg (578) on Friday June 11, @01:58PM (#1144243)

    What's the point?

    It might not just be about the money. There are bragging rights and "for fun" to. But there is a lucrative cheats market. If you could manipulate the matchmaking server to give you easy opponents etc that is probably something someone might want. Certainly so if E has weak anti-cheat options now. If winning games score you points or lootbox type things and you can fix those or manipulate the results in your favor. Also the entire blackmail- DOS-attack vector. Cause it might be hard for EA to defend the servers if the code is out there. While not a moneymaker gaining the ability or option to put up non-EA servers for the games is a niche to, as this could also then allow non-legit games to connect.

    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Friday June 11, @06:25PM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Friday June 11, @06:25PM (#1144330)

      Especially if it gets you on a professional team and/or subsequent endorsement deals, or even just more followers, if you're playing the long game [youtu.be].

      The point is probably the same as the point of games in the first place; it's entertainment. Unless you're EA (or someone they hire for cybersecurity after this event), there's no direct financial benefit, I guess.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MIRV888 on Friday June 11, @03:43PM (3 children)

    by MIRV888 (11376) on Friday June 11, @03:43PM (#1144267)

    Now it's compromised before it is even released.
    People will pay to cheat.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by takyon on Friday June 11, @04:45PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday June 11, @04:45PM (#1144286) Journal

      Are you telling me they won't fix the bugs in their multi-billion revenue game?

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      • (Score: 3, Touché) by Booga1 on Friday June 11, @08:39PM (1 child)

        by Booga1 (6333) on Friday June 11, @08:39PM (#1144383)

        It worked for Bethesda for decades.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by kazzie on Saturday June 12, @04:53AM

          by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 12, @04:53AM (#1144493)

          You mean "it didn't work" ...

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @04:13PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @04:13PM (#1144274)

    Good quality cheats can go for $1500. Not sure how many people buy them at that price. There's a much larger market for cheats costing $100 or so.

    The thing is that Battlefield is one of the most heavily cheated games out there, at least among games that are actively maintained. There's not that much more cheating to do. And FIFA is primarily a console game, which makes cheating quite a bit harder.

    In the end this might not be worth all that much in terms of game cheats. Perhaps is the biggest "value" is in looking for ways to cheat at microtransactions, since apparently that code was also stolen.

    • (Score: 2) by MIRV888 on Saturday June 12, @06:14AM

      by MIRV888 (11376) on Saturday June 12, @06:14AM (#1144512)

      I had a blast playing BF4 even with people cheating.
      Big battles, good maps, a command structure. If you had a decent commander and squad leaders you couple really mop up.
      I actually came in 1st one round as commander using cruise missiles my squads called in.
      That and the dog tags. So many dog tags.
      Cheats or not I am looking forward to this release.
      BF 1 and V just sucked.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Snotnose on Friday June 11, @04:15PM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Friday June 11, @04:15PM (#1144277)

    as some guy on Fark said, don't credit me.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @04:20PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @04:20PM (#1144279)

    Just how badly their games root your computer and.how much data they send to EA

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @04:22PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @04:22PM (#1144280)

      I swear the bastards are stealing my hard won porn collection bit by bit

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @05:18PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @05:18PM (#1144303)

        It's not stealing if they just take a copy.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @05:46PM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @05:46PM (#1144314)

    A former business partner was a senior developer and manager at Google and had a pretty sexy CV with decades of FAANG style experience. The type of guy good at getting companies with more money than sense to pay you $400/hour for consulting.

    At some point during our product's development, he just started jacking some code from a number of sites and just plopping it in. I didn't say much at first since I assumed he was just throwing together a quick mock up of an idea. And then as we got closer to production the code was still in there. I talked to him about it and he said, "No worries. There was no license on it, so we're good to go." A rather heated debate then ensued...

    For those that may not know, unlicensed code is not free code. Quite the opposite, when you publish something publicly even without a license it is automatically copyrighted. This is the reason that there are licenses like the Unlicense license. And using that (unlicensed) code in a commercial project is illegal and opens you right on up to lawsuits. I assumed this would be day 0 information at places like Google, but apparently I was wrong.

    The point of this is that I suspect if you look at practically any major product, perhaps except those that expect to share source code like Microsoft, you're probably going to see illegal copy-pasta all over the place. EA is a company that I expect is an especially egregious violator here. If I was the owner of regularly accessed open source projects not under an MIT or other 'do whatever you want with this' type license, I'd be looking to grab a copy of this because if your code has been used, especially in one of their frameworks or SDKs, you just became a whole lot wealthier. You can probably grab one of the cheat-check tools they use in computer science programs to automate the entire process and sidestep any basic obfuscation efforts.

    And I also expect this is one of the big fears of EA. Their code itself is probably pretty close to worthless, but unless they're keeping a tight rein on their developers, it could easily open them up to big dollar lawsuits.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @06:32PM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @06:32PM (#1144333)

      lol, srsly? not explicitly attaching a license just means auto-copyright?
      this is monster silly, since this is happening in the "this-universe-exits-only-because-we-can-make-copies"-universe. so it's silly.
      not attaching a license to watever means straight up there's no license ... but i guess this is to "easy" and "free" and would cost the law-and-lawyer business muchos dollarees! so away we go to the lobby to .. lobby for more idiotic and illogical laws!!!!

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @07:22PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @07:22PM (#1144360)

        Don't represent yourself in court, kiddo...

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 12, @08:02AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 12, @08:02AM (#1144531)

          Nah I'd rather he represent himself in court. However he should live stream it too.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by kazzie on Saturday June 12, @04:57AM (3 children)

        by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 12, @04:57AM (#1144495)

        Not attaching a license means there's no license for you to do anything with the code.

        That doesn't stop the code from being copyrighted: legally that happens as soon as it's written. And it you don't have a license for it, then you're leaving yourself open to legal challenges.

        • (Score: 2) by Booga1 on Saturday June 12, @07:09AM (1 child)

          by Booga1 (6333) on Saturday June 12, @07:09AM (#1144526)

          Yeah, this is about the same logic as seeing something on the shelf at a store without a price tag and taking it while saying "it must be free then!"
          Lack of a copyright notice or license might stop them from getting hit with automatic treble damages in a lawsuit, but they'll still lose their case as soon as they admit they used the code because it didn't have a license.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 12, @03:10PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 12, @03:10PM (#1144581)

            yes, but if you take from shelf there remains a hole!
            ur shelf is not in the "this-univers-exists-because-copies-can-be-made"-universe.
            if the tagless item would be digistructed by the shelf itself after removal nobody but you and a idiot lawyer would complain ... sry.

        • (Score: 2) by loonycyborg on Saturday June 12, @07:23AM

          by loonycyborg (6905) on Saturday June 12, @07:23AM (#1144527)

          Copyright law doesn't restrict really small fragments, like single words or sentences. So it's possible to argue that most snippets people actually copy are too small to be copyrightable. It's pretty subjective though when a piece of code becomes large enough to qualify as "independent work of art". So you're not guaranteed to actually lose such a suit. Also you're unlikely to get sued in the first place because people who post small code fragments to demonstrate a programming technique wouldn't mind. And nobody else would have authority to sue.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Friday June 11, @06:40PM

    by VLM (445) on Friday June 11, @06:40PM (#1144338)

    Multiplayer games either suck or they're botted.

    Here's the actual code to optimize your bots against.

    In a way its a vote of confidence for FIFA 21. If they didn't expect it to be popular there would be no reason to write bots for FIFA 21.

    The other issue is my guess is not only is there cut and paste line by line source code ready for the lawyers to attack, but business method patents in the source code itself. All those patents reading "play a game... over the internet". For example I bet there is a patent troll out there with a patent for Bresenham's line drawing algo. Now all we need to do is find calls in the source code to functions with names like line_bresenham() or whatever and cha ching the cash rolls in.

    Sure, Bresenham was published half a century ago. However I remember reading Xiaolin Wu's algo as a high school kid and thinking WTF its the current year and people are still inventing new line drawing algos? I don't know or care if either line drawing algo has a business methods patent issued, but I'm sure that any pile of 780 GB of source code will have some reason to hang EA in it somewhere.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @06:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @06:48PM (#1144341)

    fuck these slaveware peddling scum, and the sycophantic whores/slaves that fund them.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Spamalope on Saturday June 12, @12:57AM

    by Spamalope (5233) on Saturday June 12, @12:57AM (#1144440) Homepage

    So, are the thieves making the code available one module at a time via a loot box system? They're really not fully monetizing it if they aren't.

    Technically, hasn't the data just been moved to a more secure location? Shouldn't EA pay for proactive security service like that?

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