Major vulnerability in EA’S Origin gaming client fixed

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EA Games has more than 300 million users worldwide.
EA Games has more than 300 million users worldwide.

Check Point Research and CyberInt have identified a chain of vulnerabilities in the Origin gaming client developed by Electronic Arts (EA).

The vulnerability had the potential to allow an attacker to hijack a player’s session, resulting in account compromise and takeover. It did not require the user to hand over any login details. Instead, it took advantage of abandoned subdomains and EA Games’ use of authentication tokens in conjunction with the OAuth Single Sign-On (SSO) and TRUST mechanism built into EA Games’ user login process.

EA Games, with more than 300 million users and revenues in the region of $5 billion, is the world’s second largest gaming company, with titles such as FIFA, The Sims, Battlefield, Command and Conquer, and Medal of Honor in its portfolio.

These games and more lie on EA’s self-developed Origin gaming platform that enables users to purchase and play games on PC and mobile devices. The platform contains social features including profile management, networking with friends via chat, and direct game joining. It also features community integration with sites such as Facebook, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Nintendo Network.

Researchers from the two companies disclosed the vulnerabilities to EA in accordance with coordinated vulnerability disclosure practices so that they can fix the vulnerabilities and roll out an update before threat actors exploit them. They also supported EA in developing the fixes to further protect the gaming community.

“EA’s Origin platform is hugely popular; and if left unpatched, these flaws would have enabled hackers to hijack and exploit millions of users’ accounts,” says Oded Vanunu, head of Products Vulnerability Research for Check Point.

Gaming attacks are profitable

Vanunu says attacks such as this illustrate how susceptible online and cloud applications are to attacks and breaches. “These platforms are being increasingly targeted by hackers because of huge amounts of sensitive customer data they hold.”

Itay Yanovski, co-founder and VP of strategy for CyberInt Technologies says gaming goods are traded in official and unofficial marketplaces in the dark Web, which makes attacks against gaming studios very profitable.

“We believe the cyber security industry has the responsibility to protect people, so we make sure to alert the industry with threat-centric security research on newly detected adversary campaigns, to ensure that the most effective detection and mitigation measures are taken.”

The two security companies highly recommend that users to enable two-factor authentication and only use the official Web site when downloading or buying games.

In addition, they say that parents need to create awareness among their children around the threat of online fraud, because threat actors will go to any lengths to gain access to personal and financial details, which may be held as part of a gamer’s online account.

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