Hackers reportedly stole up to 780 GB's of code from EA in a massive data breach, according to a report from Motherboard who found forum posts by hackers looking to sell the code. EA has since confirmed that a data breach happened, specifying that no player data was compromised.
The hackers are claiming they obtained the full source code for FIFA 21, its matchmaking tools, and the source code for EA's Frostbite Engine, which powers EA titles such as Battlefield, Star Wars Battlefront, Need For Speed, and more.
While EA has not confirmed exactly what data was breached, they did confirm to Motherboard that there was an "intrusion into our network" and that a "limited amount of source code" was taken.
"We are 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 explained. "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 theft of source code by hackers has been an ongoing threat for gaming companies for some time now. In an early high-profile incident of gaming code being stolen, the source code for Half Life 2 was leaked in 2003 before the launch of the title, due to a data breach at Valve.
More recently, in October of 2020, a group of hackers stole and then threatened to leak the code for Watch Dogs: Legions. Then in November of 2020, Capcom suffered a ransomware attack that compromised the information of as many as 350,000 people. Earlier this year in February, CD Projekt Red was the target of a ransomware attack of their own that resulted in the source code of several of their IP's being sold off online.
It's not just game code that hackers are interested in, either. In early 2020, Microsoft confirmed that some source code for the Xbox Series X was leaked online by Russian hackers. There is a shadow war going on between developers of code and hackers who want to take it, and EA the latest target of this ongoing struggle.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.