Cybersecurity intelligence service Check Point Research and threat detection provider CyberInt have identified a chain of vulnerabilities in the Origin gaming client developed by Electronic Arts (EA). Once exploited, the vulnerabilities would have led to player account takeover and identity theft.
EA is the world’s second-largest gaming company and boasts household gaming titles such as FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Live, UFC, The Sims, Battlefield, Command and Conquer and Medal of Honor in its portfolio. The games leverage the Origin client gaming platform, which allows users to purchase and play EA’s games across PC and mobile. Origin contains social features such as profile management, networking with friends via chat, and direct game joining. It also includes community integration with sites such as Facebook, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Nintendo Network.
CyberInt and Check Point researchers responsibly disclosed the vulnerabilities to EA in accordance with coordinated vulnerability disclosure practices to fix the vulnerabilities and roll out an update before threat actors exploit them. They combined their expertise to support EA in developing the fixes to further protect the gaming community. The vulnerability EA closed could have allowed a threat actor to hijack a player’s session, resulting in account compromise and takeover.
“Protecting our players is our priority,” said Adrian Stone, Senior Director, Game and Platform Security at Electronic Arts. “As a result of the report from CyberInt and Check Point, we engaged our product security response process to remediate the reported issues. Working together under the tenet of Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure strengthens our relationships with the wider cybersecurity community and is a key part of ensuring our players stay secure.”
The vulnerabilities found in EA’s platform did not require the user to hand over any login details whatsoever. Instead, it took advantage of abandoned subdomains and EA Games’ use of authentication tokens in conjunction with the OAuth Single Sign-On (SSO) and TRUST mechanism built into EA Games’ user login process.
“EA’s Origin platform is hugely popular; and if left unpatched, these flaws would have enabled hackers to hijack and exploit millions of users’ accounts,” said Oded Vanunu, head of products vulnerability research for Check Point. “Along with the vulnerabilities we recently found in the platforms used by Epic Games for Fortnite, this shows how susceptible online and cloud applications are to attacks and breaches. These platforms are being increasingly targeted by hackers because of huge amounts of sensitive customer data they hold.”
“CyberInt provides continuous, automated early detection, taking the attacker’s perspective to enable companies to protect their customers and business proactively,” said Itay Yanovski, co-founder and SVP strategy for CyberInt Technologies. “Gaming goods are traded in official and unofficial marketplaces in the darknet, which makes attacks against gaming studios very lucrative. We believe the cybersecurity industry has the responsibility to protect people, so we make sure to alert the industry with threat-centric security research on newly detected adversary campaigns, such as the recent TA505 – to ensure that the most effective detection and mitigation measures are taken.”
Check Point and CyberInt strongly advise users to enable two-factor authentication and only use the official website when downloading or purchasing games. Parents should create awareness among their children around the threat of online fraud, that cyber criminals will do anything to gain access to personal and financial details, which may be held as part of a gamer’s online account. Check Point and CyberInt encourage gamers to always be vigilant when receiving links sent from unknown sources.
- Read the full technical analysis of the EA Games vulnerability from the Check Point Research blog.
- See the Video: CyberInt Researchers and Check Point Help EA Secure its 300 Million Gamers, detailing the discovery and nature of the find.
Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?
It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK
One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.
Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.
When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.
That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.
In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.
The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.
Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.
“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.
“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”
Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.
In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.
* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee
Robots coming to IFA
Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.
The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.
The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:
Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.
Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.
Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.
Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.
Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.
And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.
IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com