The publisher behind some of the gaming industry’s oldest and most expensive franchises, Bandai Namco, has apparently been hacked by a ransomware group called Alphv, also known as BlackCat. Several other developers, publishers and hardware manufacturers have been targeted by the same group and others in the past. The extent of the damage is currently unknown.
The news comes from a security group, Vx-Underground, which maintains “the largest collection of source code, samples, and malware articles on the internet.” According to Vx-Underground, Alphv “claims to have ransomed Bandai Namco”. The group added that “Bandai Namco is an international video game publisher. Bandai Namco video game franchises include Ace Combat, Dark Souls, Dragon Ball, Soulcalibur, and more. Vx-Underground also posted a screenshot from the Alphv website showing Bandai Namco listed as “data coming soon”. Bandai Namco has yet to make a statement on this.
Vx-Underground was among the first to discover the similar attack targeting Nvidia last March. “We are asking Nvidia to commit to fully open its graphics processing unit drivers for Windows, macOS and Linux from now and forever,” ransomware group Lapsus demanded at the time, threatening to “ unleash the entire silicon, graphics and computer”. chipset files for all recent Nvidia graphics processing units. Lapsus then hacked other companies, including Microsoft.
Alphv is well known among security experts. Microsoft has a long dossier on the group, calling Alphv a “widespread threat and a prime example of the growing ransomware-as-a-service economy.” Microsoft further describes the group as “notable for its unconventional programming language, multiple possible target devices and entry points, and affiliation with prolific threat activity groups”.
This is the latest in a long line of ransomware attacks affecting various companies in the gaming industry. Capcom was targeted in 2020 and CD Projekt Red was hit just under a year later in 2021. EA was hacked soon after. “Following the incident, we have already made security improvements and do not expect any impact to our games or business,” the company said in a statement. “We are actively working with law enforcement officials and other experts in this criminal investigation.”
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