Battlefield and Madden NFL publisher EA says source code was stolen, as US Senate announces probe into recent cyberattacks

Electronic Arts Inc is investigating a recent data breach, where some of its game source code and related tools were stolen, the video game publisher said on Thursday, becoming the latest victim of a spate of cyberattacks on US companies.

The publisher of titles such as Battlefield, Apex Legends and Madden NFL 21 said it does not expect the breach to have an impact on its games or business and that it was working with law enforcement officials and other experts as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The same day, US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said he is initiating a review of recent high-profile cyberattacks on governments and businesses to find out whether a legislative response is needed.

“Today I am asking chairman Gary Peters of our Homeland Security Committee and our other relevant committee chairs to begin a governmentwide review of these attacks and determine what legislation may be needed to counter the threat of cybercrime and bring the fight to the cyber criminals.”

Battlefield and Madden NFL publisher EA says source code was stolen, as US Senate announces probe into recent cyberattacks

US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer announced on Thursday a review into recent high-profile cyberattacks against governments and businesses. Photo: Photo: TNS

Vice’s Motherboard earlier reported that hackers had stolen a wealth of data from EA, including source code for popular title Fifa 21 and source code and tools for Frostbite engine, a software development toolset for game creators.

Overall, hackers stole about 780 gigabytes of data and also advertised it for sale on several underground hacking forum posts, according to the report.

“No player data was accessed, and we have no reason to believe there is any risk to player privacy,” EA said in a statement.

Shares of EA fell as much as 2.4 per cent to a session low of US$142.31.

Hacking activity against corporations in the United States and other countries has increased as digital thieves have been able to take advantage of security weakened by work-from-home policies due the Covid-19 pandemic.

Schumer noted that the New York City subway system was the victim of a computer hack in early June. This came on the heels of Colonial Pipeline having to shut down some operations, resulting in disrupted fuel supplies in the US Southeast, as a result of a cyberattack.

This week, JBS USA, a meatpacking company, paid a ransom equivalent of US$11 million after its operations in North America and Australia were disrupted.

Schumer also said he is seeking a US$500 million increase in the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s budget in response to such incidents.

He did not say what other legislation might be considered following a Senate review.


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