Hackers swipe source code from EA in cyberattack

11 Jun 2021

Image: © Rokas/Stock.adobe.com

The Battlefield maker said it is investigating the hack in its systems but that no player data was accessed by the attackers.

EA has become the next major victim of a cyberattack, with hackers making off with source code for some games.

The games publisher said on Thursday (10 June) that it was investigating the attack after source code for games including FIFA 21 and its Frostbite game engine, which is used to develop games, was pinched.

Stealing the source code of a software product could prove lucrative as it provides an under-the-bonnet look at how a product works and could be used for reverse engineering. The Frostbite engine in particular is used to develop several major EA titles such as Battlefield and games in the Star Wars franchise.

According to Vice, which first reported on the incident, hackers stole 780GB of data, with people claiming to be the culprits posting on hacker forums that they had “full capability of exploiting” the data and were planning to sell it.

The company said that no player data has been stolen.

“We are investigating a recent incident of intrusion into our network where a limited amount of game source code and related tools were stolen,” EA said.

“No player data was accessed, and we have no reason to believe there is any risk to player privacy.”

EA added that it has made improvements to its security infrastructure since discovering the attack and is in contact with law enforcement.

It is the latest cyberattack against a major games developer where hackers went after source code. Cyberpunk 2077 maker CD Projekt Red was hit by a ransomware attack earlier this year where hackers stole some source code.

There has also been a string of incidents in recent months with hackers wielding ransomware targeting large companies – most notably the Colonial Pipeline and the world’s largest meat processor JBS. This week it was reported that the latter paid $11m in ransom money to retrieve its files locked down by the hackers.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin