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Hackers Reportedly Hijack Apex Legends Tournament to Deploy Cheats | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


EA’s shooter game Apex Legends was reportedly hit with a disruptive hacking incident Sunday night, causing the game’s esports league to press pause on its North American tournament until further notice.

“Due to the competitive integrity of this series being compromised, we have made the decision to postpone the NA finals at this time,” the official Respawn-affiliated Apex Legends account wrote on Twitter late Sunday. “We will share more information soon.”

In the middle of a tournament game, Apex pro player Noyan “Genburten” Ozkose said that his game was being hacked and taken over to deploy cheats on his account. In a video clip from the player’s livestream, a cheat program’s settings menu pops up briefly before Genburten yells, “I’m getting hacked, I’m getting hacked!”

Genburten, who is playing on a controller, appears baffled and shocked as the hackers repeatedly type into the chat box from his account: “by Destroyer2009 & R4ndom” and “Apex hacking global series.”

“It’s cheating!” Genburten said. “I can see everyone.”

Locations of all other players popped up on the screen, showing that someone had deployed “wall hacks” or visibility hacks onto his account via a cheat program. A text overlay connected to the cheat program also appears in the top left corner of the player’s screen. Within seconds, Genburten decides to leave the match.

One Twitter account focused on gaming anti-cheats suggests the incident may have been due to an RCE exploit, or a remote code execution attack. The account also claimed they were in contact with one of the purported hackers, who told them it was an RCE attack. Neither Respawn nor EA have confirmed or otherwise addressed these claims at time of writing, however.

A close-up screenshot of the pop-up that appeared on Genburten’s screen shows the cheats supposedly included an aimbot, a gun recoil reducer, and an “autofire” feature, among others. It also had a box checked that said “vote Putin.”

It’s currently unclear why or how the incident occurred. Apex Legends’ servers or game may have been exploited, or the issue could have originated from its Easy Anti-Cheat software. PCMag has reached out to EA for comment.

While Sunday’s incident appears to be an external attack, many players have installed cheats on Apex Legends despite its kernel-level anti-cheat over the years. This game season, the Apex streamer known as Lindsey “LuluLuvely” has repeatedly begged Apex developers at Respawn to fix what she calls an “out of control” cheating situation.

Apex’s esports tournament incident comes just days after EA laid off an estimated 23 employees working on the game. In 2023, it also laid off 200 Apex Legends quality assurance testers.

More broadly, EA is laying off about 5% of its company and “embracing” generative AI, with EA CEO Andrew Wilson estimating that genAI could be applied to about 60% of the game publisher’s existing development processes.

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