In June this year, hackers stole 780GB of data from EA including the source code of FIFA 21 and the Frostbite engine, EA’s proprietary development engine used across most of its titles. Now, the hackers are leaking the information they obtained on the internet in an attempt to force EA to pay a ransom.
Vice reported on this development, after the hackers left a message on a forum about their plans. Apparently, the hackers had originally tried to sell the data, but have now decided to try and extort EA for ransom money instead.
The statement reads: “Few week ago we send email for ransome [sic] to EA but we dont get any response so we will posting the [source code]”. This is followed by a clear threat to keep sharing the data if EA do not respond: “If they dont contact us or dont pay us we will keep posting it,”
The hackers also left a file on the forum, containing 1.3GB (in a compressed file) of information on internal EA files relating to development tools and EA’s Origin store. This could prove to be a major headache for EA, as the Frostbite engine is used in everything from their big sports titles like FIFA, to their flagship FPS franchise Battlefield, which is launching a new entry, Battlefield 2042, in October this year. Despite this, the company seems to think that the hack will have minimal impact on products and services. EA has released the following statement:
“We’re aware of the recent posts by the alleged hackers and we are analyzing the files released. 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. We continue to work with federal law enforcement officials as part of this ongoing criminal investigation.”
This follows similar wording to the original statement EA released after the hack occurred in June: “We are investigating a recent incident of intrusion into our network where a limited amount of game source code and related tools were stolen. No player data was accessed, and we have no reason to believe there is any risk to player privacy. Following the incident, we’ve already made security improvements and do not expect an impact on our games or our business. We are actively working with law enforcement officials and other experts as part of this ongoing criminal investigation.”
Vice reports that, whilst the hackers have sent ransom requests to EA, the company had initially refused to acknowledge or reply to these demands. However, the company has now admitted that it has received an extortion threat. Hacks have become increasingly common across the gaming industry, with both CD Projekt Red and Capcom becoming victims of significant hacking attacks in the past year.
Liam Wiseman is a Freelance News Writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @liamthewiseman