Electronic Arts Hit by Hackers Who Took Source Code, Tools

Electronic Arts Inc., the video-game giant behind the Battlefield, Sims and Madden NFL franchises, is the latest high-profile victim of a cyberattack, with hackers stealing its source code and related internal tools.

“We are investigating a recent incident of intrusion into our network where a limited amount of game source code and related tools were stolen,” the Redwood City, California-based company said Thursday in an email. “No player data was accessed, and we have no reason to believe there is any risk to player privacy.”

The loss wasn’t extensive and isn’t expected to affect games or Electronic Arts’ business, the company said.

Electronics Arts didn’t provide other details of the attack, but hackers going by the name Kickass on the XSS cybercrime forum took credit for stealing a trove of data from the company. They first advertised the stolen data in a locked chat room on XSS earlier this week, claiming to have the original software-development kit for Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox console, along with keys to crack FIFA 21, FIFA 22 and FrostBite.

In all, the hackers are trying to sell about 780 gigabytes of game data, according to the post.

“You have full capability of exploiting on all EA services,” the hackers claim in their post, a screenshot of which was shared with Bloomberg News by a person with access to the secret chat room.

Criminal Investigation

Electronic Arts has tightened security since the incident and is “actively working with law-enforcement officials and other experts as part of this ongoing criminal investigation,” the company said.

Motherboard previously reported on the incident, which sent shares of Electronic Arts down as much as 2.4% on Thursday. The stock recovered most of those losses and was little changed at the close.

“Breaches are so common at this point -- it’s probably just a minor black eye for them,” said Doug Clinton, a managing partner at Loup Ventures. “There’s always the chance for there to be more to the story, but odds are this is forgotten in a few weeks.”

It’s also unclear whether anyone can make use of the stolen material.

“It looks like source good to games and the engine, not user data,” said David Cole, owner of video-game industry research firm DFC Intelligence. “The issue in that case is what will the hackers do with it? They can try and sell it, but will anyone buy it or be able to use it?”

Often when data leaks out, “no one can really do anything with it,” he said.

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