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👋 Morning! As the summer solstice approaches, we're officially getting "zero night" at the moment, just a long darkish twilight. Love the long evenings!
June 11, 2021
The EA hack
Esports games - FIFA 19

Hackers have broken into game publisher Electronic Arts, and made off with more than 780 gigs of data, including source code for game engines.

Now being sold online, it’s audacious and may cause havoc for online play

  • According to posts on a dark web forum, someone is claiming to have obtained 780 gigabytes of data, including the source code for FIFA 21, along with EA’s Frostbite game engine, used by FIFA, Battlefield, Madden, and more EA games.
  • Other proprietary EA frameworks and software development kits (SDKs) were also nabbed.
  • Vice first reported the attack, and noted that the hackers are trying to sell the data rather than hold it to a cryptolocking ransom as we’ve seen more recently:
  • “Along with their forum posts the hackers shared a small selection of screenshots claiming to demonstrate their access to EA data, but did not publicly distribute any of the internal data itself. Instead, the hackers are, at least ostensibly, trying to sell the information.” 
  • EA said, in a statement to the outlet: “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. 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.”
  • Mmhmm. It’s a good PR statement that appears to make things seem good and safe. But this is pretty major, especially if the data gets posted for open use.

More and more brazen:

  • Last year, Nintendo, Valve, and Ubisoft alone suffered similar data breaches, while CD Projekt Red was hit by a ransomware attack this year.
  • But the specific data that EA has confirmed to be hacked is juicy: source code access can open up worlds of interesting scenarios for programmers, who can figure out new cheats, how to get around anti-cheat software, or less nefariously, create mods.
  • Wired points out: “Not all leaked source code is used for evil. Amateur video game historians and preservationists covet these schemas for games’ inner workings. Game companies’ increased control over their products—whether it’s digital-only downloads or forced internet connectivity—sketches out gamers who view games as cultural products.”

EA:

  • EA is not exactly a company many will feel sorry for, having become addicted to microtransactions for fully-owned games.
  • Jokes doing the rounds point out that the hackers will be able to prove once and for all that FIFA 21 is the same as FIFA 20 which is the same as FIFA 19, 18, 17… before it…
  • Someone on Twitter joked: “Hackers ignored the NHL series, just like EA has done for the past decade”
Roundup

📺 This was teased last year, but Microsoft is now officially making Xbox video game streaming devices, and trying to bring Game Pass to any device including smart TVs: “…[w]e’re also developing standalone streaming devices that you can plug into a TV or monitor, so if you have a strong internet connection, you can stream your Xbox experience” (Android Authority).

📉 Xiaomi’s 200W charging will decrease your battery capacity pretty quickly (Android Authority).

📈 The Android 12 beta is the most popular pre-release in Android’s history ‘by far’ (Android Authority).

📉 Galaxy Tab S7 FE lands in Russia, but chip shortage might delay it globally (Android Authority).

🆕 OnePlus Nord CE was announced: it brings back the headphone jack, but with sacrifices (Android Authority).

🍎 Apple hires former BMW executive and a co-founder of a self-driving auto startup for its rebooted car project (Bloomberg).

📺 Netflix: The Store. Netflix and Shopify team up to sell limited-edition merch (netflix.shop)

🐳 Underwater nuclear bomb listening devices heard secret population of blue whales hiding in Indian Ocean (Livescience).

😬 Some people can’t get an FCC subsidy because “Street” isn’t the same as “St.” (Ars Technica).

🔋 Tesla shows off the $130,000 Model S Plaid’s performance at an event last night, with 390-mile range (Engadget). Also, a Tesla game controller was in use! (The Verge).

🌞 Solar eclipse from space! See a satellite view of the moon casting its shadow on Earth (video) (Space).

🥇 “What are you the 1% of?” (r/askreddit).

Friday Fun

Ok yes this is an Android Authority newsletter but credit where it’s due: an 18-year-old developer has faithfully created iOS 4 as an iPhone app called OldOS (The Verge).

oldOS
  • Now, Apple doesn’t exactly allow you to download the app, but Zane Kleinberg, the developer, has made it available via GitHub for Xcode, and the OldOS app is available on Apple TestFlight.
  • I feel like I was using this just a few years ago, but iOS 4 was first shown off 11 years ago! 

Have a great weekend,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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