No one is safe from phishing scams, it seems – not even employees at one of the largest game development companies in the world. An employee working for Rockstar Games messed up last week and accidentally gave their username and password away to a hacker who knew how to take the most advantage of this lapse. This hacker stole files related to the upcoming game Grand Theft Auto VI and spread them all over the internet.
The resulting leak was catastrophically bad for Rockstar and became a huge headline in the gaming industry. It also goes to show that you can’t be too careful when it comes to phishing attempts. When even tech-savvy people like game developers can fall for phishing schemes, it’s vital that everyone takes a moment to familiarize themselves with the common types of scams you see online.
The pre-alpha material the scammer stole from Rockstar was nowhere near ready to be seen by the public. The hotly-anticipated Grand Theft Auto VI has been in development for years and Rockstar was waiting for the right opportunity to showcase it in a highly-polished trailer. Instead, everyone who saw the leak has now essentially seen behind the curtain and now knows more about the game than Rockstar wanted anyone outside the company to know at this stage.
This also means that the hacker likely has access to the game’s source code. That’s a problem because that’s the code any other developer could use to crack into GTA VI’s most basic programming. Hackers and cheaters can use this to get an advantage in the game before it even comes out.
The majority of phishing attacks come from two avenues: email and text messages. Hackers know how to dress up a message to look like it’s an official communication from a retailer or website that you have a username and login credentials for. It’s vital that you treat any email or text message that prompts you to log into a page as potentially malicious.
The best course of action is to refuse to follow links embedded in emails and texts. Hackers love to misdirect people by using these phony links to get you to a convincing-looking fake page. Once you’re in their ecosystem and don’t realize it, you’ll drop your guard and give away your password and username while trying to log in. Instead, just go to the site you’re trying to log into through your normal URL bar or search engine! That way, there’s no chance you’re accidentally giving your information away.