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Activision Blizzard investigates hacking campaign targeting its users, likely linked to cheat software

In brief: Activision Blizzard is reportedly carrying out an investigation into a hacking campaign that has been stealing the login credentials of people playing the company’s titles. The hackers are somehow installing malware on victims’ computers and stealing passwords for their gaming accounts, crypto wallets, and more.

A person with knowledge of the hacking incidents told TechCrunch that people at Activision Blizzard are currently investigating the matter, trying to help remove the malware while working on identifying and remediating player accounts for everyone affected.

The source said that there is not enough data yet to know how the malware is spreading, but it could be only affecting users who have third-party tools installed. They never elaborated on what these non-Activision tools might be, but it sounds as if cheating software could be the culprit.

Activision spokesperson Delaney Simmons told TechCrunch that the company is aware of “claims that some player credentials across the broader industry could be compromised from malware from downloading or using unauthorized software.” Simmons emphasized that the company’s servers remain secure and uncompromised.

The theory that the malware is being spread by cheating software is backed up by the fact that the hacks were first uncovered by someone called Zeebler, a person who develops and sells cheating tools for Call of Duty. In the official channel for the PhantomOverlay cheat provider, Zeebler described the incidents as being part of an “infostealer malware campaign.”

Zeebler told TechCrunch that he discovered the hacking campaign when a PhantomOverlay customer had their account for the cheat software stolen. Zeebler’s own investigation uncovered a database of stolen credentials that the hackers had managed to pilfer and collate – TechCrunch verified a portion of the credentials as being genuine, though it’s unclear how old or recent it is.

Zeebler then contacted Activision Blizzard and other cheat makers whose users appear to be affected.

Also Read: Apex Legends tournament postponed after players hacked mid-match

The good news is that those playing Activision Blizzard games without using cheat software shouldn’t be at risk from the new campaign. The company’s library does include several titles that are popular with cheaters, including the Call of Duty series and Overwatch.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen specific cheat software for Activision Blizzard games loaded with malware. It was found in Hearthstone cheat programs in 2016, while Call of Duty: Warzone cheats were found to be installing cryptominers on users’ PCs in 2021.

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