Ukrainian game dev behind STALKER 2 hacked by Russian hackers

The hack resulted in leak of major game assets

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 dev hacked by Russian hackers

GSC Game World, the Ukrainian video game developer behind the highly anticipated “STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl” game, has recently reported a security breach. The developers are saying that their systems were breached, allowing hackers to steal game assets during the attack. In response to this, the hackers have threatened to release data for Stalker 2, which is expected to be released later this year, according to a statement from the company.

In the tweet, GSC Game World said that the breach occurred when a collective work-with-images application was hacked:[1]

Recently, our employee’s account for a collective work-with-images application was hacked.

The statement also claims that the threats are aimed at putting hurdles in the game development process and harming its reputation. GSC Game World revealed that it had faced blackmail, acts of aggression, and efforts to hurt players and fans.

The hackers are threatening to use the data obtained for blackmail and intimidation. The company emphasized that these attempts are futile, as its employees regularly face much more harrowing situations due to the prevailing war conditions in the country.

Hackers demanding an apology from the company

A user on the Russian social network VK has claimed to have the materials about the game, including story details, cutscenes, maps, and more. They have threatened to share the materials if GSC Game World does not meet their demands by March 15th.

The user wants the company to apologize to players in Belarus and Russia, unban an account from the game’s Discord, and localize STALKER 2 in Russian. However, GSC Game World has clarified that it will not meet these demands. According to the game’s Steam page, it only has voiced audio in English and Ukrainian, though it will have subtitles in Russian.

The studio urged players not to share any leaked material from STALKER 2:[1]

In the event of any leaks, we ask that you refrain from watching or distributing information about S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl. Outdated and work-in-progress materials may dilute the impression of the final idea that we have put into the game.

Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, GSC Game World has maintained its unwavering commitment to supporting its country. The company has been very vocal about the conflict, and when development was sidelined due to the war, GSC Game World said that work on the game would continue “after the victory.”

The company has even shared a look at GSC Game World's Kyiv office[2] and workers before and after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In its statement, it reiterated its “unwavering commitment to supporting” Ukraine, adding that “attempts to blackmail or intimidate us are completely futile.”

Video game companies targeted by cybercriminals

Hackers have increasingly targeted video game companies in recent years, with some high-profile attacks making headlines. One example is the ransomware attack against CD Projekt Red,[3] the studio behind the popular game series The Witcher, in 2021. The hackers stole sensitive data, including game source code, and demanded a ransom in exchange for not leaking it.

Another notable attack occurred in 2020 when Naughty Dog, the studio behind the highly anticipated game The Last of Us Part II, was hacked just weeks before the game's release. The attack leaked major plot spoilers online, upsetting many fans and potentially impacting the game's sales.

While the exact motivations behind these attacks are not always clear, it is evident that video game companies are being targeted for various reasons. They must remain vigilant in protecting their sensitive data and intellectual property from such breaches.

About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

Ugnius Kiguolis is a professional malware analyst who is also the founder and the owner of 2-Spyware. At the moment, he takes over as Editor-in-chief.

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