Video games and cheating have gone hand-in-hand since hiscores started to exist. There’s always someone willing to get their hands dirty for the sake of getting one up on their compatriots. Modern cheating, however, has evolved from simple button-prompt cheat codes to full-blown cyber attacks with the intent of stealing gamers’ credentials.
Jul 16, 2021 · 4 min read
The world has long moved beyond “hacked” arcade games, where inputting a secret code would give bonus lives or invulnerability. Hacking games have become a far more complicated affair, to the point that “good” hackers have begun to strike back against the “real” hackers ruining their game with cheats and illegitimate wins. The Call of Duty malware trap is a perfect example of this.
When it comes to video games, the bigger the target, the easier the prey. The higher a game's player count, the harder it is to prevent hacking. The human cost alone would require entire teams dedicated to stopping cheaters. With that in mind, what video games have the highest number of hackers?
To measure “cheats” and “hacking” in video games, we’ll refer to a study that scanned a mass of YouTube videos for cheating footage. This list shows the most views on cheating and hacking related YouTube clips, shedding a light on what could be the most hacked online games.
Interestingly enough, all 5 of the above games suffer from a prevalence of aim-bots and wallhacks. Aim-bots automatically lock-on to a target’s head when aiming down the sights, offering instant headshot kills from across the map. Wallhacks will allow a player to see enemies through walls, offering another unfair advantage over the competition.
Most video game cheating videos, based on the top 5 list, will be related specifically to those two hacks. It seems the desire to be number one has trumped players’ sense of fair play, especially when being number one may also come with cash prize incentives.
While certain gaming tournaments and other high-profile games will always be a target of cheaters looking to chalk up easy wins, there seem to be newer targets that entice hackers more than simple bragging rights.
Millions of user accounts means millions of attempts at brute-forcing their way through to victims’ payment information. With 2 massive video game breaches already taking place in 2021, it’s easy to see why some gamers might feel uneasy with giant gaming entities handling their personal data.
Once a cybercriminal has access to someone’s identifying information, they can inflict untold mayhem on the victim’s life. One of the most notorious video game hacks in recent history was the 2018-2019 hack of Fortnite creators Epic Games.
In November 2018, a bug was discovered on the Epic Games website that allowed hackers to log in as different users and exploit their payment details. Thousands of dollars worth of cosmetic in-game Fortnite items were illegitimately bought and potentially millions of users’ identifying credentials exposed to cybercriminals.
Hackers would also identify and steal any accounts that acquired any “rare” cosmetic skins, with some accounts being sold for upwards of thousands of dollars on the dark web.
Epic Games never released how many accounts were hacked and waited until January 2019 to inform their customers of the data breach. Disgruntled gamers who had their Epic Games accounts hacked even filed class action lawsuits against Epic Games for their handling of the breach.
2021 is truly an unlucky year for video game giants. This year, hackers targeted two of the biggest and most prolific names in the industry: CD Projekt Red (creators of The Witcher series and Cyberpunk 2077) and EA Games (creators of Fifa, Battlefront, Star Wars). Instead of user data, hackers prioritized stealing the source codes of several games, including the latest releases.
In the case of CD Projekt Red, the hackers ransacked their servers, stole the source code of the Cyberpunk and Witcher games, and left a ransom note on their website. CD Projekt Red didn’t respond to the ransom note left by the brazen hackers, so, subsequently, all stolen documents and code were sold online to an anonymous bidder. Bidding apparently began at 1 million dollars, with a buy-it-now option of 7 million dollars.
EA Games were victims of a socially engineered attack that took a fair amount of tech know-how and spades of nerve. After gaining access to the EA Games Slack channel, hackers tricked IT support into sending them replacement phones after “losing them at a party the night before”.
Once the hackers had exactly what they needed to crack into EA Games inner workings, they stole the source code for soccer-simulator Fifa 21, a suite of development tools, and hundreds of gigabytes of other game-creating data. Instead of leaving a ransom note for EA, the cyber thieves went straight to the illegal auction houses to sell it off to the highest bidder.
These giant video game entities have shown that they can’t be trusted with handling your private information. It’s a wake-up call to take security measures into your own hands.
While not much can be done to prevent your data being lost amongst a sea of thousands of other users in a massive breach, you can take other steps to protect yourself, like investing in a VPN. But is a VPN worth it?
If you take online gaming seriously, it is. Once you connect to a VPN server, you’re immediately protecting yourself from DDoS attacks. How can a malicious player target you for an attack if your IP address is hidden behind a VPN server?
There’s a reason NordVPN is the best VPN for Xbox, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. With 5,000+ servers in over 50 countries, uninterrupted gaming is at your fingertips. No more bandwidth throttling, and ping is a thing of the past when you can just choose a VPN server closest to the game server.