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How Fallout 76 hackers stole Christmas from over 500 players

Yet another disastrous bug hit the PC version of Fallout 76 earlier this week, ruining Christmas for over 500 people. The exploit allowed hackers to access player inventories like loot chests, stealing any item contained within. 

YouTuber vonwiclehoffer caught the "Inventory Steal Hack" in action, sharing a video of their character roaming Appalachia and literally stealing the shirt off the backs of several other players. After leaving a sea of semi-naked former vault residents in their wake, vonwiclehoffer offered viewers free items via their alt account. While some praised them as a modern Robin Hood, others were quick to point out hackers often use this method to prevent their accounts from being banned. If Bethesda discovers hundreds of accounts with stolen items, the company is less likely to hand out more permanent punishments.

vonwiclehoffer alone reportedly stole from 532 people. It remains unclear how many players lost their inventories to the exploit overall; however, Bethesda claims only a "small number" of characters lost their hard-earned goods.

"We are investigating reports of a PC-only exploit that could be abused by cheaters, which may have resulted in a few players losing items that their characters had equipped. We have been actively working toward a solution for this and have a fix that we are currently evaluating for release today," wrote Bethesda on the Fallout 76 Reddit. "While we've determined that only a small number of characters have been negatively affected, we are taking this very seriously and resolving this is currently our top priority."

Commenters were less than thrilled by Bethesda's chosen verbiage, especially with vonwiclehoffer's video still circulating. As several responses pointed out, there's a big difference between "a few players" and "hundreds." Others recalled the warnings from modders that circulated last November about the hacking vulnerabilities of the Fallout 76 PC version. Bethesda dismissed several of these claims, calling them "inaccurate or based on incorrect assumptions." The many breaches over the past year seem to tell a different story.