FIFA hackers were able to steal FIFA Coins worth millions of Dollars from EA. How did these online criminal managed to fool the EA servers?
FIFA Coins Black Market
FIFA Coins are the in-game currency which is used to purchase players packs for the soccer game. The coins could be attained by participating in the soccer matches or buying them with real world money. FIFA's popularity created a thriving black market for FIFA Coins. The black market trade is most active in China and Europe but the hackers caught recently by the FBI are based in the US.
How Hackers Fooled EA Servers
Basically, the online thieves managed to develop a special software tool that simulate soccer matches and tricked the EA servers into handing out the FIFA coins. During the FBI interrogation, one of the defendants, Austin Alcala recounted that they use several Xbox development kits, a FIFA 14 pirated copy and an Interactive Disassemble program. The hackers reverse-engineered the FIFA game and were able to come up with a FIFA Coins mining tool in a matter of months.
The amount of cash seized from the hackers totaled around $3 million most of which belonged to the ring leader. Properties that include a Lamborghini, personal computers and Xbox 360 consoles were also taken away from the hackers. Most of them are part of the Xbox Underground, which are composed of a larger group of hackers and is also believed to be responsible for a series of software theft from companies such as Microsoft and Valve.
The FIFA hackers have been detained and are currently on trial for the crime. However, there is no official word from the FBI or EA if such exploits are no longer possible in FIFA. Considering the huge demand for FIFA Coins, it is likely that online criminals will continue with their mining activity unless caught by the authorities.