Game developer EA hit by major data breach

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The hackers behind the attack are selling the company’s source code

Electronic Arts (EA) -- the game developer responsible for video games like Star Wars Battlefront, The SIMS, Need for Speed, Madden NFL, and Apex Legends -- has been gamed itself. According to Motherboard, EA has become the victim of a cyberattack.

Not only did hackers swipe the source code for FIFA 21 and the Frostbite engine (which is the backbone for EA’s soccer/football series as well as Battlefield), but they are reportedly advertising that the data they stole is for sale on hacking forums. Motherboard reports that the hackers will only consider offers from well-known, marquee hackers.

An EA spokesperson confirmed that while hackers stole “a limited amount of game source code and related tools,” they did not gain access to player data. The company said it is confident that the hack won’t impact other games or its business as a whole. Nonetheless, it’s putting additional security in place. 

Source code is like gold in the video game industry

Luckily for EA, the hack isn’t one of the ugly ransomware kinds that targeted JBS and the Colonial Pipeline. The developer said it’s working with law enforcement to investigate the incident.

When companies like EA lose control over their source code, things can spiral out of control. “Source code is a big deal in programming, so it’s a big deal when companies lose control over it,” remarked The Verge’s Mitchell Clark.

Clark says EA’s not alone. Recently, the gaming industry has seen similar source code thefts for Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 3, and Super Mario Kart. Nintendo was also involved in a “gigaleak” that led to the loss of an unreleased Zelda game.

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