Cinematic, heroic hacking meets the mundane kind.
A ransomware gang called “Egregor” has leaked data from Crytek and Ubisoft’s internal networks, including what is reportedly the 560GB source code for the latest instalment in Ubisoft’s open world stealth franchise, Watch Dogs Legion.
A Ubisoft spokesperson told Eurogamer “we are aware of the group’s claim and are currently investigating a potential data security incident.”
There’s obviously some inherent humour in the irony of the target. When I think about the difference in that much mis-used act of “hacking” between fiction and reality, our editor Tom Baines’ piece four years ago makes for a good read. The Watch Dogs representation of hacking has always been silly in how it portrays what is in reality mundane and technical (and only occasionally heroic) as some youthful counterculture activity you engage in between beach parties.
This is the kind of anarchic, criminal act you’d probably commit if you infiltrated an Ubisoft building in-game. Just without sneaking around like James Bond and shooting people (or the no less horrific non-lethal brutalising of people’s heads).
Can some good potentially come of such a breach into a private company? Well, the source code could be used by modders to enhance or optimise the game… perhaps. If the game uses some form of DRM, that could also be potentially removed if you’re particularly sensitive about anti-piracy measures.
More than anything it just shows how different real-world hacking can be. In a world not that far off Watch Dogs Legion’s dystopian, futuristic London, the target of hackers is a game studio’s network rather than hacktivism. And Egregor probably didn’t have to do the Bioshock pipe hacking minigame. They would have given up for sure.