Tech

Hackers attack Apex Legends tournament players

apex legends logo octaneImage: Respawn/EA

Accusations of cheating or “hax” tend to be flung around a lot in online shooter games. But for two high-level competitors in the Apex Legends battle royal, the cheating was both indisputable…and apparently completely unwanted. Evidence of multiple hacking attacks on players during a live-streamed tournament has the community reeling.

According to a report from PCGamer, the Apex Legends Global Series experienced hacking attacks while two players were in the middle of their games and streaming live to viewers. Noyan “Genburten” Ozkose suddenly saw other players through walls, AKA a wallhack, and Phillip “ImperialHal” Dosen found that he was using an auto-aim assist or “aimbot” without warning. Both players immediately recognized that something was wrong and stopped their respective matches.

Though Twitch chat logs indicate specific hackers taking credit for the attack, exactly what happened isn’t clear. Unaffiliated investigators using the Anti-Cheat Police Department Twitter account claim that it’s an example of remote code execution (RCE). That would mean that either the Apex Legends system, individual players’ PCs, or the popular Easy Anti-Cheat service is compromised.

The account advised players to refrain from “playing any games protected by [Easy Anti-Cheat] or any EA titles,” and told tournament participants that they should change email and Discord passwords immediately. In a somewhat drastic instruction, they advise players to perform a clean OS installation as “your PC may have been exposed to a rootkit or other malicious software.”

There isn’t any official recommendation from Apex Legends developer Respawn or its owner Electronic Arts. The Apex Legends support Twitter account says only that the tournament has been postponed as of late Sunday night due to “the competitive integrity of this series being compromised,” and more information will be shared soon.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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