The theft of Electronic Arts source code shows that ransomware isn’t the only option for thieves looking to cash in on stolen data.
Hackers breached the network of gaming giant Electronic Arts (EA) and claim to have stolen 780 GB of data, including game source code and "related internal tools," in news first reported by Motherboard.
The publisher of "Battlefield," "FIFA" and "The Sims" told FOX Business that it is "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."
EA went on to say that it is working with law enforcement.
"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," the company said.
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Not ransomware but…
The hackers who stole the source code for the game "FIFA 21" "are advertising it for sale in various underground hacking forum posts," Motherboard reported.
This is a different approach than ransomware where hackers encrypt the data and then demand ransom.
"Interestingly, at this time, it appears they did not attempt to ransom the data back to EA, but instead chose to offer it to the highest bidder," Erich Kron, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4, told FOX Business.
"If this data includes a significant amount of proprietary information, it may be valuable to competitors, or it may include information or vulnerabilities that could be used in future attacks against EA products or customers with installed EA games," Kron said.
But Kron wonders why the hackers took this approach.
"Given the demonstrated success that cyber criminals have had with ransomware… I would not have been surprised to see the same extortion tactic attempted against EA," he said.
"Instead, they chose to put the data up for sale…[this] complicates the ordeal by expanding the number of people they would potentially have to negotiate with," Kron said.
The hack also proves tech-savvy companies like Electronic Arts can be victims of attacks.
"This incident demonstrates the fact that even high-tech organizations are vulnerable to potential data breaches," Kron said.
And it could get worse.
New security research from Akamai shows that the video game industry experienced more growth in attack traffic than any other industry. The research also said that Web app attacks were up 340% from 2019 to 2020.