What, if any, impact will a serious hack earlier this week have on Rockstar Games’ business? The game editor the systems have been hacked just a few days ago, in what some are calling the biggest such hack in recent memory. Known for popular franchises like red death the Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar said it was “extremely disappointed” that the “illegal” hacking episode took place. The hacker, who also claims to be the same culprit behind the recent extreme Uber hackleaked video of the first development footage of the upcoming GTA6.
So far, Rockstar hasn’t said much about the impact it believes the cyberattack will have. In its initial statement, the company largely dismissed the prospect of long-term issues as a result of the breach: “We do not anticipate any disruption to our live gaming services or any long-term effects on the development of our projects. In progress. “Gizmodo has reached out to the game’s publisher for more information and will update our story if they respond.
Video game hacks have become increasingly common in recent years. Last week, beta footage of the next Diablo IV has been leak at Reddit. Last summer, EA Games suffered a pretty disastrous hack that saw the game’s source code leak all over the web. In the past, hacking and leaking of games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Half Life 2 led to epic problems for the game publishers behind them.
A gateway to cheating
One of the biggest concerns right now is whether the cybercriminal behind the attack will release any further data. Hacker claims to have stolen source code for both GTA 5 (published in 2013) and GTA6 (assumed 2025 release date), posted a selection of code screenshots to an online forum, and threatened to release the rest. Source code, the digital DNA of a program, is important proprietary information for any game company. Hypothetically, what could publishing such code really do?
Ben Ellinger, vice president of software production at video game design school Digipen, told Gizmodo that the impact of a hack depends on the type of code stolen. If the hacker managed to steal server-side code to GTA6which could potentially open up Rockstar to a cheat problemspeculated the professor.
Understanding the problem requires a little perspective on game architecture. online today multiplayer games are basically designed to prevent players from cheating. The game code is divided into two parts: the server-side code (which is executed by server farms owned by the company) and client-side code (which runs on the player’s actual device, such as an Xbox or phone). Client code informs the player’s user experience, while server code governs the gameplay itself. The code is partitioned this way out of necessity (you really can’t build an online multiplayer environment without some sort of cloud infrastructure) but it also helps keep control of the game firmly in the hands of the company: players send their input (i.e., commands) to the server, and the server sends back an updated version of the game reflecting player input.
However, if a hacker accesses the server-side code, it could allow them to see how the gameplay works, which ultimately allows them to leverage that knowledge to develop new tricks. It may not seem like a big deal, but it can quickly become a big deal, Ellinger said. In this particular case, cheats could really disrupt gameplay, and if cheats are sold or distributed to a larger subset of players, the magnitude of the problem could grow exponentially. Do pirates sell cheats online? Of course they do.
Bellinger said another potential negative side effect of a data breach is a change in a company’s security culture that temporarily borders on paranoia. Companies will typically reevaluate their security procedures to try to avoid the next incident, he said.
“The problem is that it is very difficult to determine whether [the hack] Is it just a simple security flaw… or is it human engineering. By human engineering, Bellinger means that there is “someone inside who is either complicit in this [data breach] or are inadvertently so – they have been manipulated. Employees are driven to allow intruders into corporate networks all the time, even when these anti-phishing workshops have made the rounds.
Bellinger said post-hack culture changes can hamper workflow and don’t always end up being as helpful. They “can cause internal disruption to the team because you’re now going into a state of near paranoia,” he said, explaining that companies will go through a period of self-questioning after something like this happens. produce. “The worst-case scenario for this is that you lose months to the resulting inefficiencies,” he said.
How much does a hack cost?
It’s unclear exactly how much this incident will cost Rockstar. Daniel Wood, an academic researcher who studies the cyber-insurance industry, said that if the company had cyber-insurance, an insurer could have contributed some of the costs, but it’s not clear that Rockstar has any. had.
However, even if they had, the insurance might not have helped much in a case like this. “Cyber insurance typically doesn’t cover intellectual property loss or reputational damage, in part because they’re difficult to quantify,” Woods said. “It appears that the Rockstar hack primarily damaged intellectual property and reputation,” he said, adding that he doubted “financial hedging would have helped” in this case.
There are also serious and often disappointing limits to the kind of protection the cyberinsurance industry can provide, Wood said. “Even when cyber insurance covers something, the insurance limit is often exceeded because insurers are not comfortable offering limits of hundreds of millions (to get this, policyholders must purchase insurance with a coalition of insurers),” he said.
Everything will be fine, maybe?
Overview, what is the damage? If it was a smaller game publisher, Rockstar’s fate would probably have been much worse. However, for a company that benefits from a net revenue of hundreds of millions of dollars, he can afford to have a little egg on his face once in a while. According to Bellinger, it probably won’t be that bad.
“It’s good,” he said, laughing. It’s hard to imagine that this will seriously discourage the release of the new game, he added. “It’s fucking Grand Theft Auto. Everything will be alright. People are always gonna be impressed as hell [with the game]they or they [Rockstar] will still earn billions of dollars. Ninety percent of the people who play it will never even notice it happened,” he said.
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