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May 22, 2024

Ubisoft Fends Off Major Data Breach Attempt

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Dec 24, 2023

Summary

Video game company Ubisoft is investigating a potential data breach attempt after an unauthorized third-party accessed some of its systems earlier this week. While Ubisoft says no player data was accessed, the hackers claim to have accessed significant amounts of source code and other internal data totaling over 900GB. Ubisoft quickly identified and shut down the intrusion, limiting damage. Still, this incident highlights the ongoing cybersecurity risks facing major corporations. Ubisoft is working with authorities as it conducts a comprehensive investigation into the scope of the breach attempt.

Timeline of the Breach Attempt

Ubisoft revealed on Friday, December 23rd that it had become aware earlier in the week of unauthorized access to some of its systems by an unknown third party. The company stated it immediately initiated an investigation, including working with cybersecurity and authorities.

Reports state that the Vice Society hackers initially contacted Ubisoft on Tuesday claiming to have breached its network and demanding a ransom. After Ubisoft did not respond, the hackers leaked some alleged internal files from Ubisoft online on Thursday showing they had accessed significant amounts of data.

The hackers claim to have exfiltrated over 900GB of data from Ubisoft’s systems, including source code for games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion as well as internal AWS tools and credentials. They threatened to release the stolen data if Ubisoft did not pay a ransom.

However, Ubisoft maintains it quickly identified the intrusion vector used to gain access and shut down the attack, limiting what data was actually successfully exfiltrated. The company says based on its initial investigation, no player personal data was accessed or exposed.

Scope of the Breach Attempt

While Ubisoft contained the attack, the hackers were still potentially able to access a concerning amount of internal data judging from what has been leaked so far. This includes:

  • Source code, builds, and tools for major Ubisoft games
  • Internal repositories, documents, and credentials
  • Some HR, administrative, and financial data

If all 900GB of data claimed was indeed stolen, it could provide valuable insight for others looking to attack Ubisoft or access source code to cheat/modify games. However, Ubisoft maintains through its quick response the damage was limited significantly from what the hackers intended.

Impact and Future Implications

The biggest potential impact is leaked source code enabling cheating and piracy infringement of major Ubisoft titles. Stolen credentials could also potentially allow further access into Ubisoft systems. And loss of sensitive internal documents creates competitive concerns related to things like game plans and financial data.

However, Ubisoft states that based on its investigations no player data was compromised. The hackers also did not successfully deploy ransomware across Ubisoft’s networks to cause operational disruption. So from a business continuity perspective, Ubisoft expects limited impact with no evidence customer or player data was taken.

Going forward though, this breach attempt highlights weaknesses in security defenses of major game companies against sophisticated hackers. It will likely lead Ubisoft and others to assess ways to further lock down critical source code and internal systems from external intrusion even by trusted parties. Companies need to balance security with enabling remote work collaboration – a major challenge with hybrid work models.

Attackers are increasingly utilizing more advanced techniques like counter incident response to evade detection and deployment of ransomware. Ubisoft successfully avoided major damage here, but it will likely re-double efforts to ensure it and other gaming/tech giants can thwart such attacks in a world of rapidly evolving cyber threats.

Quotes and Reactions

In its statement, Ubisoft said:

“We have already implemented a series of containment and remediation measures and mitigation actions to reinforce the security of our systems and infrastructure and to better protect the data entrusted to us. As part of our comprehensive response protocol, we are also working closely with the appropriate authorities and security experts.”

Bret Arsenault, Microsoft Chief Information Security Officer, commented to media:

“What stands out about this attack is how quickly Ubisoft identified the intrusion and took steps to shut it down before the exfiltration of data and encryption of systems often associated with these kinds of attacks today.”

Analysts have warned how it’s nearly impossible to fully keep out determined, sophisticated hackers:

“For all their cybersecurity prowess and defense teams, major corporations cannot thwart every single attack attempt – it just takes one small opening or credential compromise for hackers to gain initial access and then try to escalate privileges.”

While concerning, this incident has highlighted strengths of Ubisoft’s defenses per industry experts:

“The fact that Ubisoft was able to detect this attack when it did and prevent deployment of ransomware across their environment is impressive given the persistence and stealth approaches utilized by modern hackers.”

Timeline Summary Table

Here is a summary timeline of key events related to the Ubisoft breach attempt based on current reporting:

Date Event
December 20, 2023 Hackers gain initial access to Ubisoft systems
December 21, 2023 Hackers contact Ubisoft threatening ransom and data leak
December 22, 2023 Ubisoft identifies unauthorized activity, initiates investigation and response
December 23, 2023 After no ransom payment, hackers leak alleged Ubisoft files online
December 23, 2023 Ubisoft publicly discloses potential breach attempt, says ongoing investigation

This is an ongoing situation as Ubisoft continues actively investigating the extent of the breach attempt and shoring up defenses. Player data does not appear to have been taken, but source code and internal documents leak remains a concern. Ubisoft will provide updates as more details emerge around one of the most significant video game security incidents.

AiBot

AiBot

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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