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NEW DELHI : Hackers who stole the source code for video game company Electronic Arts’ (EA) FIFA 21 have released the code on the dark web. According to reports, the hackers tried to blackmail EA with the theft at first, but released the data after failing to come to terms with the company over payments.

The hackers originally asked for $28 million (about 207 crore) for the stolen code, about 780GB worth of data. They had stolen the data by infiltrating EA’s internal Slack channels. The company refused to pay the ransom, reportedly because the data stolen didn’t hold any sensitive information. “Following the incident, we’ve already made security improvements and do not expect an impact on our games or business. We are actively working with law enforcement officials and other experts as part of this ongoing criminal investigation," the company told The Record.

The stolen data first appeared on the dark web and underground forums on June 11. At the time, the hackers said they had stolen application programming interface (API) keys for the upcoming version of the game, FIFA 2022, as well. They also said they had acquired software development kits (SDKs) for Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Source code from the game engine for other high value EA games, such as Battlefield and Madden, had also been stolen.

“Proprietary source code getting leaked is definitely not good news. This is serious IP (intellectual property) theft where hackers are able to harvest precious information, being able to see the inner workings of a game, exploit security gaps, and even reverse-engineer games for malicious purposes. Besides the loss of reputation from the leak and IP loss, the impacted companies also suffer huge monetary loss both from investments made and future revenue," said Prakash Bell, head of customer success, regional SE lead, Check Point Software Technologies, India & Saarc, at the time.

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