The cyberattack suffered by Electronic Arts was one of the most shocking news of the week. Yesterday, a group of hackers infiltrated the company’s servers and stole the source code of games like FIFA 21 and the Frostbite graphics engine. In total, the thieves made about 780GB worth of files.
The big question behind the EA hack was how had it happened. A few hours after perpetrating it, the hackers themselves revealed how they did it. The attack had incredible (and even ridiculous) edges, and included the use of stolen cookies, Slack, and unintentional insider “help.”
Vice contacted the hackers, who provided evidence of the procedure that led to the cyberattack on Electronic Arts. It all started with the online purchase of stolen cookies, in exchange for the modest sum of 10 dollars. Taking advantage of this resource, the hackers connected to the company’s channels in Slack.
Posing as the original owner of the credentials to log into the communication service, the intruders achieved a much-appreciated internal collaboration. “Once inside the chat, we contacted the support team and explained that we lost our phone at a party the night before,” they explained.
In this way, it was the people of Electronic Arts who “opened the door” to access the servers. This is because the hackers requested a multi-factor authorization token that gave them access to the company’s corporate network. Apparently, the request was successful on two occasions and thus they had a free way to reach the information later stolen.
Electronic Arts and an unexpected headache
While EA recognized the cyber attack immediately, it also noted that sensitive information from its gaming community had not been compromised. However, that does not detract from the seriousness of a really unexpected event for the video game company.
The hackers explained that, once inside the servers, they found a service used by Electronic Arts developers to compile video games. From there they logged in, created a virtual machine to get even more network access, and entered another service from where they downloaded the stolen source code.
According to the report, other documents stolen in the same attack were also released. The material would be related to PlayStation VR, the use of artificial intelligence in games, and certain techniques that EA applies in its titles (the creation of the digital audience that appears in FIFA, for example).
In addition, the hackers themselves sent screenshots to Vice to confirm the step by step of the operation. On the other hand, Electronic Arts confirmed to Motherboard the veracity of the perpetrators’ claims.