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Wednesday, 10 February 2021 06:09

Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt takes a hit from ransomware Featured

Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt takes a hit from ransomware Courtesy CD Projekt

Polish video game developer CD Projekt, a company that is known for its game series The Witcher and the CyberPunk 2077 project, says it has suffered an attack from unspecified ransomware, but claims that users' personal data has not been affected.

The New Zealand-headquartered security firm Emsisoft claims the group behind the attack is known as HelloKitty.

CD Projekt, which is also behind the digital distribution service, said in a statement the attackers had gained access to its systems, downloaded a lot of data, encrypted all information and left a ransom note.

"We will not give in to the demands nor negotiate with the actor, being aware that this may eventually lead to the release of the compromised data," the company statement said.

Emsisoft chief technology officer Fabian Wosar said: "The amount of people that are thinking this was done by a disgruntled gamer is laughable. Judging by the ransom note that was shared, this was done by a ransomware group we track as 'HelloKitty'. This has nothing to do with disgruntled gamers and is just your average ransomware.

"Before CDPR the same group has hacked the Brazilian energy company CEMIG late last year. Earliest victims date back to November 2020, way before CyberPunk was even released. I can see the appeal of the 'this was revenge by a former fan' [explanation], but life is much more boring than that."

The ransom note claimed that the attackers had dumped the complete source code for Cyberpunk 2077, Witcher 3, Gwent and an unreleased version of Witcher 3.

Additionally, it was claimed that all accounting, administration, legal, HR and investor relations documents had been exfiltrated.

The attackers acknowledged that it would be possible for CD Projekt to recover by using back-ups. They warned that if the company did not reach a deal with them within 48 hours, then the source code would be sold or leaked online, and the stolen documents would be sent to gaming journalists.

CD Projekt has suffered financial issues after the release of Cyberpunk 2077 for the PS4 and Xbox One on 10 November last year, due to the number of bugs. Shares of the company fell by a third in the first six days after the launch.

Commenting on the incident, global security firm Kaspersky said in a statement that it supported CD Projekt's decision not to bow to the attackers and pay the ransom.

"The incident might be just another fast-disappearing news item about a ransomware attack if not for the company’s reaction to the attack," Kaspersky said.

"CD Projekt says it does not plan to give in to any demands, or even to negotiate with the ransomware operators. Instead, the company plans to focus on mitigation, in particular, by working with potentially affected third parties. In addition, CD Projekt published the ransom note.

"We support the decision not to pay, as well as such transparency in communications about the incident. Any payment to extortionists makes their ransomware business more profitable and supports the development of more and better malicious tools – but does not guarantee the criminals won’t publish the stolen data anyway."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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