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Electronic Arts admits that hackers stole game source code and tools, stock declines

By Wallace Witkowski

EA confirms hack, which original report says obtained source code for 'FIFA 21' as well as data from Frostbite Engine, says it was not ransomware

Electronic Arts Inc. shares declined Thursday after the videogame publisher confirmed that hackers had stolen data, which an earlier report said included source code for one of its most popular games.

EA (EA) shares, which had traded as much as 0.4% higher on the session, fell as much as 2.4%, after a report from Vice (link) on the breach surfaced early Thursday. According to the Vice report, hackers have claimed online to have taken source code for EA's "FIFA 21" soccer game as well as code for its matchmaking server, the company's Frostbite Engine that powers games such as "Battlefield," and other intellectual property. Vice reported that hackers have been advertising about 780 gigabytes of EA data for sale in online forums.

An EA spokeswoman told MarketWatch that the breach was not a ransomware attack, but did not confirm the details about what data was taken. Several recent cyberattacks (link), like those on meat processor JBS SA and Colonial Pipeline, have involved ransomware, where hackers demand a ransom to unfreeze a network or to not release sensitive data.

Read: Ransomware boom comes from gangs that operate like cloud-software unicorns -- 'a truly incredible business model' (link)

"We are investigating a recent incident of intrusion into our network where a limited amount of game source code and related tools were stolen," EA said in an statement emailed to MarketWatch. "No player data was accessed, and we have no reason to believe there is any risk to player privacy."

"Following the incident, we've already made security improvements and do not expect an impact on our games or our business," EA said. "We are actively working with law-enforcement officials and other experts as part of this ongoing criminal investigation."

Over the past 12 months, EA shares have advanced 16%, while shares of competitors Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. (TTWO) have grown in tandem with the S&P 500 index's gain of a little more than 30%.

-Wallace Witkowski; 415-439-6400;


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-10-21 1318ET

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