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Digital Identity, Security & Online Fraud

Hacking network build around video game Fortnite

Friday 21 December 2018 | 10:10 AM CET

A global hacking network, compounded of 14-year old youngsters, has been developing around the popular video game Fortnite.

Fortnite is free to play but is estimated to have made more than GBP 1 billion through the sale of “skins”, which change the look of a character, and other add-ons. The items are collected as in-game purchases but are purely cosmetic and do not give gamers any extra abilities. The game has more than 200 million players.

About 20 hackers told the BBC they were stealing the private gaming accounts of players and reselling them online. This fuels a growing black market. Hackers can sell player accounts for as little as 25p or hundreds of pounds, depending on what they contain. Fortnite-maker Epic declined to comment on the investigation but said it was working to improve account security.

One British hacker said he got involved at the age of 14 earlier in 2018 summer, when he himself became the victim of a hack. He mentioned for BBC that he only carried out one cracking session. But in that single day he managed to access more than 1,000 Fortnite accounts.

The hacker said he was now a middleman for other crackers, selling on accounts he knew to be stolen. In his first few weeks, he made around GBP 1,500 and bought himself some games and a new bicycle.

The National Crime Agency says there is a long-standing link between video games and hacking, and that publishers need to do more to prevent players being tempted into crime.

More: Link