Lapsus$ hackers allegedly leak GTA V source code, sell it for as low as $2,000

Screenshots of GTA V source code and other data are circulating online

 Lapsus$ hackers leak source code of GTA 5

In a significant development that has alarmed both the gaming community and cybersecurity experts, Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) has fallen victim to a major security breach – once again.

This incident is marked by the online leak of its source code and other confidential materials. The severity of this breach is heightened by its timing, following closely on the heels of a previous network intrusion last year that led to the unauthorized release of Grand Theft Auto 6 gameplay footage.

The current leak is reported to involve a 4GB file comprising a significant portion of the game's code. However, the entire source, rumored to be about 200GB, has not been fully disclosed yet. The leaked source code rapidly gained traction and began circulating across various social media platforms, even as efforts were made to remove it.

This breach is not limited to GTA V; it also includes files from the highly anticipated, yet unreleased, Bully 2,[1] as well as parts of GTA 6's code and several unreleased DLCs for GTA V.

The breadth of this leak presents a considerable threat, particularly to GTA Online, as it opens up possibilities for hackers to identify and exploit vulnerabilities within the source code, potentially leading to remote code execution on players' systems.

Lapsus$ involvement

The GTA V source code leak is intricately linked to the activities of Lapsus$, a notorious hacking group renowned for its expertise in social engineering and SIM-swapping attacks. In 2022, this group successfully infiltrated Rockstar Games' internal servers, claiming to have acquired the source codes for both GTA V and GTA 6.[2]

The recent online leak, featuring the GTA V source code, had links disseminated across platforms like Discord, a dark web site, and a Telegram channel previously utilized by Lapsus$ for disseminating stolen Rockstar data.

The early release of the source code, according to reports, was driven by a desire to combat fraud within the GTA V modding community. Cybersecurity experts communicating with the attackers said the following on X/Twitter:[3]

We spoke with the person responsible for the GTA V source code leak They claim to have received the source code August, 2023. Their motivation was to combat scamming in the GTA V modding scene, many people were allegedly scammed by people claiming to have the GTA V source code

This incident clearly shows that not all cybercriminals' activities are based on financial gain alone – some simply wish to include elements of community policing and retribution. The decline in Lapsus$'s activities following the arrests of some members has not led to a complete cessation of their tactics, as some are believed to have joined Scattered Spider,[4] a hacking collective that continues to employ similar methods to infiltrate large organizations.

Rumour has it the source code was leaked out of spite and then sold for cheap

The situation surrounding the GTA V source code took an intriguing turn with rumors emerging about its sale. It's been speculated that the code was sold for just $2,000, a figure remarkably low given the immense value of such a critical component of a popular video game.

The source of these rumors appears to be leaked direct messages, which suggest that a modding group was the buyer of this code. However, these claims have not been independently verified and remain within the realm of speculation.

Following the alleged purchase, there were attempts to resell the source code at a higher price, reportedly up to $6,000, in hopes of turning a profit. Despite these efforts, the group found no buyers even after lowering the price. This lack of interest led to a significant decision by a member of the group, known as TMP.[5]

According to the leaked conversations, TMP expressed a sense of frustration and spite towards GTA, with statements indicating a desire to harm the game's reputation or status. In a moment of apparent retaliation, TMP reportedly decided to leak the code publicly. This action, as per the messages, was taken despite warnings from others about the potential consequences of such a move.

It is important to note that the legitimacy of these leaked messages and the exact circumstances surrounding the sale and subsequent leak of the GTA V source code has not been conclusively verified and should be approached as unconfirmed information.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

Gabriel E. Hall is a passionate malware researcher who has been working for 2-spyware for almost a decade.

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