Epic Games basically declared war on both hackers and leakers in 2018 and though we knew hacking could be profitable, it is pretty wild to see teenagers making thousands and thousands of dollars off of taking advantage of Fortnite's coding.
For those unaware, Fortnite is primarily notable due to its free-to-play battle royale mode that has skyrocketed the game to unforeseen levels of publicity. Though there are in-game cosmetics that players can choose to buy, there's actually no reason to spend a single dime unless a player wants to take part in additional challenges or deck out their avatar in shiny new digs. Even still, the game makes billions of dollars from these shop items - despite them being purely voluntary - and hackers are breaking into the accounts that houses some of these items for profit.
When a player buys a certain skin, it goes into their "Locker." Hackers are getting into stocked accounts with enticing lockers, changing the passwords on these accounts, and then locking the original owner out by applying a two-factor authentication.
Over 20 hackers have stepped forward to talk to the BBC about how they are taking these stolen accounts and selling them to needy players for a surprising amount of money. The more items in the locker, the more valuable the account.
According to one British hacker, "I was approached by someone who said I could buy an account for 25p and I could clearly see the account was worth a lot more, I bought it." He also mentioned that it's pretty much just a lucky draw. Sometimes when hacking, the account turns up pretty useless as far as items go. It really just depends how rare the items are and if the stolen locker is seen as valuable or not.
Another stepped forward to say that he's made up to 20,000 dollars in seven months just by doing this. Though it may seem like "easy money," the risk is real. If a hacker is caught and taken to court, they can face up to two years in a federal prison under the Computer Misuse Act. According to these individuals that talked to BBC, they aren't worried because "you can't get caught, nobody checks."
This is why Epic Games has urged more and more players to implement the two-factor authentication system that they offer. Hackers themselves even mentioned it's "extremely hard" to crack these and most of the time, they won't even bother.
What do you think about the rising trend of hacking in games and how profitable it seems to be? Join in on the conversation in the comment section below, or hit me up over on Twitter @DirtyEffinHippy!