On March 10, 2022, the French video game company, Ubisoft – creators of the Ubisoft Star Wars game – announced a cyber security incident. They explained it caused a temporary disruption to some of their games, services, and systems.
To ensure their users’ safety, Ubisoft performed a company-wide password reset. According to them, none of their players’ information was stolen.
Oddly enough, the breach was announced only on their website and not shared across their social media platforms. It happened shortly after they shared their plan to stop sales in Russia and support Ukraine.
Some speculate that these two occurrences are somehow related given the increased cyberattacks on Ukraine and its supporters. Others were unhappy with how they tried to sweep the incident under the rug.
Want to know more about this and other important cyber attacks on the tech world? Let’s take a look at what we do know about the Ubisoft games cyber security incident and what it could mean for the company.
What’s the Story Behind Ubisoft?
Ubisoft is a global online French gaming company with more than 20,000 employees. It was founded in 1986 by the five Guillemot brothers as a modest family business in Brittany, France. It is currently headquartered in Montreuil.
It is known for its innovations in popular games like Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Just Dance, Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, and The Division.
Ubisoft is also a game-maker and publisher of advanced gaming worlds. It is most known for games like Far Cry, For Honor, Prince of Persia, Rabbids, and Rayman.
Ubisoft Star Wars Game Delayed?
In 2021, Ubisoft’s Star Wars adventure was announced as a collaboration with Disney and Lucasfilm Games. The highly anticipated video game is said to be a “story-driven open-world” game.
The Ubisoft Star Wars game is headed by Massive Entertainment. It allows players to explore and interact within the Star Wars galaxy.
However, more recent updates from gaming industry insiders, revealed that this particular game most likely won’t be completed until sometime in 2025. Ubisoft has yet to make a statement.
With the recent cyber attack, some players wonder if it may take even longer for such a complex game to be completed.
Ubisoft Account Hacked?
Ubisoft admitted online that it had been hacked and released a short statement saying their IT departments were working to remedy the situation.
According to Ubisoft, no Ubisoft accounts of players’ personal data were affected.
However, users are still wary of the situation. Some commenters on the r/Games subreddit went as far as to call Ubisoft’s cyber security “not just laughable, it’s nonexistent.” But this statement is unfounded.
According to Ubisoft’s website they state, “…we build strong and reliable ways to counter-attacks, and the pirates behind them, with help from our development teams and ethical hackers.”
It’s unlikely that a gaming company of this calibre would skimp on their cybersecurity. Plus, they’re not the only ones to have been affected by this particular group of hackers.
Cyber Security Threats
Ubisoft wasn’t the only victim of the group of hackers known as LAPSUS$. Other tech companies were left in far worse shape.
Nvidia, a $600 billion chipmaker in the US, was also recently forced to go offline with its entire business due to a cyber attack.
The attacker stole employee credentials and some NVIDIA proprietary information. Then began to leak the information online.
Fellow games studio, CD Projekt Red was also compromised following a ransomware attack last year.
They reported that hackers copied code from Cyberpunk 2077, Gwent, and Witcher 3 (including an unreleased version). The hackers threatened to release the source codes either by selling or leaking them online if the ransom was not paid.
CD Projekt Red did not pay the ransom and was able to restore its data from backups.
Ubisoft Cyber Security Breaches
This isn’t the first time Ubisoft has dealt with cyber threats. In July of last year, Ubisoft won a lawsuit against a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack operation.
DDoS is a cybercrime where the hacker prevents users from accessing the site by flooding the server. They essentially overwhelm the site or network with fake traffic making it impossible for actually players to join.
A group of hackers was selling software that carried out DDoS attacks in Ubisoft’s online games, including Rainbow Six: Siege.
The group used the website SNG.one to sell software that attacked servers powering different Ubisoft multiplayer online games. The US Central District Court of California settled the case in favor of Ubisoft which received $153,094.04 in damages.
The defendants did not deny Ubisoft’s claims of the attacks for their own financial benefit. In addition to the payout, the defendants were ordered to pass over all relevant domains to Ubisoft.
Threats on the Rise
DDoS attacks continue to be on the rise. Cisco data estimates that denial-of-service attacks will rise to 15.4 million by 2023. Which is more than double 2018, which was 7.9 million.
The ongoing threats to Ubisoft’s servers suggest that the need for cybersecurity investments is only going to increase. The gaming industry is often a target of these types of DDoS threats.
Ubisoft Supports Ukraine
Some found it noteworthy that the attack on Ubisoft’s network was revealed days after they announced support for the people of Ukraine.
The gaming company made a donation of 200,000 euros to the Ukrainian Red Cross and Save The Children. They tweeted about the donation to their 8.9 million followers on March 1, 2022.
It was only ten days later that Ubisoft stated their security had been breached. Ongoing cyberthreats have already shown concerning connections to the attacks on Ukraine.
To some users’ dismay, the company have not offered further information on the results of the investigation – which could be ongoing due to more recent developments.
They did state that a company-wide password reset was enforced. Otherwise, the company claimed their games and services were working normally.
To their knowledge, no players’ personal information was stolen. The announcement was kept brief and only stated in a short paragraph on their website. Perhaps trying to keep the incident under the radar.
LAPSUS$ Hacking Group Takes Credit
Only six days later, LAPSUS$ a hacker group, took credit for the hack on Ubisoft. The group was also responsible for the data breach of Nvidia mentioned earlier.
Samsung also reported having been the victim of the LAPSUS$ group when the source code to many Galaxy devices was stolen in March as well.
It was shortly afterward, on March 25th, that a 16-year-old was arrested in London as the leader of LAPSUS$. The teenager was said to have confessed to the cybercrimes against major tech companies which included Ubisoft, Nvidia, Samsung, as well as Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and Okta.
Reputable news sources including Bloomberg and BBC reported that his information was leaked by his former business partners after they had a falling out. The boy is said to have autism and was found living at his mother’s house.
He goes by the pseudonym “White” or “Breachbase” but his name hasn’t been revealed. The motivation behind the attacks is still under investigation but the devastating results of these attacks on tech giants are still being felt.
The extent of damage that this series of breaches caused has been a wake-up call for many companies.
Microsoft conducted its own investigation on LAPSUS$ in which it found a single account was compromised. The account had been granted “limited access.”
Their detection, hunting, and mitigation information explained that LAPSUS$, which they tracked as “DEV-0537” was taking over individual user accounts at cryptocurrency exchanges and then draining the cryptocurrency holdings.
LAPSUS$ was not shy about their work. Microsoft reported that, unlike other hackers, they announced their attacks on social media. They also tried to purchase employee credentials from targeted companies.
Okta is an identity and access management company. They shared that about 366 customer data may have been breached. This was done through a compromised device that was logged into Okta.
NVIDIA had their own advice to share in an interview with Yahoo! Finance. CEO Jensen Huang believes an industry-wide Zero Trust architecture should be put into place.
This would treat every employee as a potential security threat.
Cyber Security Investing
It’s never been a better time to get into cyber security investing and cyber security venture capital. The industry continues to be essential as the growth of online businesses and remote working skyrockets.
In 2021, cybersecurity stock investments had better returns than the broader market. An Astute Analytica study stated that the cybersecurity market is projected to increase by a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13.4% from 2021 to 2027.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, cybersecurity stocks rose due to the fear of digital war and the awareness of increased online security risks.
In fact, Ukraine’s official websites have been under cyberattacks prior to the invasion of Russia. It is expected that cyberattacks will continue to build in the coming months.
These attacks could be directed toward Western countries that imposed sanctions on Russia. Ultimately, this increase in cyberattacks greatly benefits cybersecurity companies.
Is Ubisoft Games Just the Beginning?
The Ubisoft games announcement about a cyber security threat comes in the midst of an ongoing digital war. It’s still unclear if the motives behind the attack were related to Ubisoft’s recent donation to Ukraine. Yet investigations might reveal more information in the days to come.
An official release date for the Ubisoft Star Wars game has yet to be officially announced but we can expect it to be delayed in the immediate future.
Cybersecurity continues to be an ongoing threat and businesses are waking up to the need for cyber security investing. If you’re interested in learning more about the best ways to start making smarter investments, contact us today.