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EA hacked and source code stolen (bbc.co.uk)
55 points by hwpky 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 36 comments





> But it is unlikely that any mainstream competitor to EA would ever use such stolen data.

I appreciate them acknowledging this fact. It bothers me how many people think that leaking the source code of a game engine is an actual problem for the company.

Just because the code is available doesn't give you a license to use it. And the ones that don't care about having a license would not have used / payed for it in the first place.

Regarding knowhow behind modern engines, Unreal and CRYENGINE's source code is available on GitHub. Engineers often publish research papers about their methods and reverse engineering isn't as infeasible as one might think initially.

Also, speaking about Frostbite and what we've read about in the past (see Anthem), I highly doubt a developer can be productive using it while lacking official support.


> I appreciate them acknowledging this fact. It bothers me how many people think that leaking the source code of a game engine is an actual problem for the company.

If it makes the creation of exploits (cheats) easier, then I think it could a big headache for a game company. I’d at least find it a lot easier to try to exploit a game a have the full source code for, than one I have to reverse engineer.

Cheating was so rampant in earlier titles that if it had been just slightly worse I’d probably have stopped playing.

Obscurity is weak security though of course.


Yeah, I think the only ones that will actually make use of that are cheat developers and maybe game modders to obtain a deeper insight in the game.

This is something that a lot of folks seem to not understand. Usually when there is a leak of proprietary software, most others developers that are working on similar programs (both open and closed) will try to distance themselves from any potential contamination. Having identical code or abnormally similar code turn up in another project is essentially guaranteed grounds for a law suit.

You know that EA have a windows desktop client they are still trying to crystalize into the PC gaming world right? I can imagine this hack may have quite an impact on that whole project, especially if the data related to that particular piece of software.

> It bothers me how many people think that leaking the source code of a game engine is an actual problem for the company.

It shouldn't be unless they're doing something unethical in loot boxes


>And the ones that don't care about having a license would not have used / payed for it in the first place.

Speak for yourself. I don't play at all these days, but when I did, I was almost always running a "pirated" version from my favorite torrent tracker, and only after purchasing a license which was almost never used (because of DRM, not being able to run it under Wine, or other reasons).


After watching Battlefield 2042 trailer I am interested whether they have a new version of Frostbite.

In earlier releases they bumped the version of frostbite to “frostbite 2” etc, but now I don’t see these big announcements so maybe it’s more a slow evolution now and not huge releases? There are certainly new engine features vs previous releases, but I haven’t seen if they call it a new “version”.

since EA doesn't seem to be in the business of selling their engine to other companies, they don't really need to make big announcements with dazzling preview videos

They did toot the horn with “now with Frostbite 2!” before. I think maybe it stopped being iterated on that way and just became a living codebase that their internal projects consume or fork as needed.

Or maybe they used to sell it externally before?


Eh. I have reluctantly accepted Steam as my game store / thinly hidden mandated DRM. I am unwilling to accept Origin on top of it so I guess I am mildly safe in this case.

All my usual musings aside including distate for all things EA, I would absolutely want to see mass effect code.


I was about to say that you can get recent EA games on Steam, but then I checked and realized they require Origin on top of Steam, which is BS (even if it kinda makes sense).

Do you think this hack will mean that EA bring their games into the Gamepass PC Xbox app sooner rather than later?

> "Source code is a version of computer software which is usually much easier to read and understand than the end version in a finished product, and could be used to reverse engineer parts of the product."

This excerpt is another example of why we need better computer literacy, starting with journalists.


Why? It seems a fair description of source code for readers who would not be familiar with the term. (You could argue that many more people should be software literate given that software is taking over the world, but that's a different argument.)

It's a poor definition by itself (though it's hard to explain "source code" succinctly without also getting into terms like "compiling", all of which means very little to someone not familiar with software development - I think a significant number of lay people honestly believe we just enter zeroes and ones all day!), but the bit about reverse engineering makes more sense in the context of the very next paragraph:

> "For example, the Frostbite engine, which hackers claim to have the source code for, is a powerful game creation tool used in dozens of games, from FIFA to the Battlefield series and several recent Star Wars games from EA."


"though it's hard to explain "source code" succinctly without also getting into terms like "compiling""

I use the term "blueprint" as in the plans of a architect for a house. While the running software, is the finished, build house.


if you know assembler, everything is source code... so the definition makes some sense.

Access to source code makes RE easier but you can do without ( e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26130320 )


Stolen... for a meaning where stolen doesn't actually mean stolen, right?

The source code is a trade secret, and it is not secret anymore, that's what has been stolen.

If take the Coca-Cola recipe from whatever safe it is stored in, I don't think anyone will have a problem saying that I stole the recipe, even if Coca-Cola still knows how to make it.


I agree. I think "illegally cloned" would be a more accurate headline while still having as much clickbait as the author intended.

They're probably using the music and film industry definition of stolen (meaning downloaded).

Copied should be a better term I think

Hmm, I wonder if this will help the modding community

>The attackers claimed to have downloaded source code...for the proprietary Frostbite game engine used as the base for many other high-profile games.

Possibly...or it'll be used to make bots and hacks and such.


> 'No risk to players'

> "We are investigating a recent incident of intrusion into our network where a limited amount of game source code and related tools were stolen," an EA spokesperson said in a statement.

Valve hasn't fixed TF2 since source leaked over a year ago, game is still unplayable on most servers due to bots


What are you on about? The TF2 Source leak has not revealed any new vulnerabilities, and is not the cause of the bot infestation. Valve's inability to maintain a game, sure, but it isn't related.

I thought it was related, the bots appeared ~3 months after the leak. I'm sure src leak contributed to it.

Yeah it reveals the structs and general logic to talk to the server and allows shimmed clients to be written for it.

Injected properly, they could've used all those GPUs for mining

Should I shed tears for them for getting hacked, or laugh to them because they are not taking security seriously?

Time to ban cryptocurrencies so this never happens again!

Let's ban the internet

Now we're talking.

And nothing of value was lost.

Seriously who is still lining up to buy these lootbox infested gambling simulators in 2021?




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