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GTA Parent Company's Week Keeps Getting Worse

The past week has been a nightmare for "Grand Theft Auto" developer Rockstar Games and its parent company, Take-Two Interactive. It all started on Sunday when over an hour of "GTA 6" footage was leaked to a GTA forum, revealing the game's protagonist and setting, among many other small details. Unsurprisingly, the internet went wild after getting a peek at this long-awaited sequel, but the leak isn't as exciting for Rockstar, and many fans remain split on whether or not people should be excited about the leaks.

Although the leaker's true identity is still unknown, Rockstar Games has alleged that the leak didn't come from an employee, but rather from a third party that hacked into Rockstar's servers. Fast forward a few days, fellow Take-Two subsidiary, 2K Games, has also been hacked by an unknown party. 2K Games is most famous for publishing sports series like "NBA 2K" and "PGA Tour 2K," in addition to successful action RPG franchises such as "Borderlands" and "Bioshock." Because of the timing of the 2K Games hack and its connection to Rockstar, some fans already believe they could be related. However, unlike the Rockstar hack, the 2K hack looks to be much more damaging to the consumer. Here's what we know about it.

2K Games was hacked and sent users malicious software

According to multiple reports on social media, select 2K account holders received malicious software via email from the 2K Interactive support desk earlier this week. 2K Interactive later confirmed via Twitter that its support desk had been hacked, writing, "an unauthorized third party illegally accessed the credentials of one of our vendors to the help desk platforms." At first glance, the malicious email in question appears to be from a support representative named Prince K. and reads, "Thank you for reaching out to 2K Support! The download for the new 2K games launcher can be found below." Attached to these email are a 107 MB file titled 2K Launcher.zip.

Upon further investigation by BleepingComputer, the zipped "launcher" was a RedLine Stealer, which harvests sensitive information from a user's computer. According to BleepingComputer, this particular bit of malware targeted usernames and passwords stored on a user's Steam, Discord, and web browser. Presumably, this information could then be sold to the highest bidder. Users unfortunate enough to fall for the phony email have expressed feeling disappointed and enraged by the turn of events, with some writing that the hackers have stolen their "NBA 2K23" players. Of course, this is a very big deal for some, as "NBA 2K" players can be worth hundreds of dollars depending on how much a player has invested. To make matters worse, affected parties have reportedly been unable to contact 2K Games for help following the attacks.

What gamers should do to protect themselves

According to 2K support, the best way to avoid installing the malicious software is to simply avoid opening any email in their inbox that appears to be sent by 2K support for the time being. Unfortunately, although 2k Games swiftly took the 2K support portal down following the breach, the damage was already done for many. Thankfully, even if a user clicked the link in the malicious email, there are still ways they can attempt to protect themselves.

The first step for anyone who has opened the malicious file is to immediately install and run an anti-virus program. Afterward, the affected party should reset any passwords stored in their web browsers or programs, as they could be compromised. 2K Support also recommends enabling multi-factor authentication on all passwords and to avoid using text message verification. The final step affected parties should take, according to 2K Games, is to check their personal email accounts to ensure their forwarding rules have not been altered in any way.

This isn't the first time 2K was hacked

This isn't the first time 2K Games has suffered a data breach that affected its customers. In 2014, 2K Games was among a handful of companies hacked by the infamous hacker group DerpTrolling. Consequently, two thousand 2K Games users' account information was found in a pastebin alongside thousands more from various services. Additionally, the group claimed to have 800,000 compromised 2K Games accounts that they didn't release. And according to CNET, hackers conducted this breach to convince the affected companies to upgrade their servers to prevent more malicious hacks in the future. Interesting strategy.

More recently, in 2019, multiple 2K Games social media accounts were hijacked by an unknown hacker (per Forbes). After getting ahold of the accounts the hacker posted racist language directly onto thousands of users' feeds, all while posing as the games company. The company later apologized for the incident but never explained how the hack happened in the first place, leaving many questioning the company's security

It's been a tough week for Take-Two Interactive and its subsidiaries, and until the hackers are found, there's no telling how much worse this week could get for the folks behind "GTA" and other major franchises.