Cheats for Championship Game: Rumors of code hacking gap in Apex Legends

Online game Apex Legends may be affected by a code hijacking vulnerability that gives attackers control of a gaming PC. The events during yesterday's matches in the “Apex League Global Series” (ALGS) suggest this – many players have lost some control over their actions.


Online multiplayer games are a lucrative business: In addition to prize money for winning tournaments — at least $600,000 for a winning four-man team in the ALGS — players can earn money through live streaming, merchandise and product promotions. Getting caught using prohibited cheating schemes during such an exchange is a big problem for the professional gambler.

Yesterday it happened exactly twice: during a very prestigious ALGS game, a cheat menu suddenly appeared on the screen of player Noyan “Jenburton” Oskos, and announced that he was being hacked. Oscos dropped out of the tournament, which was later abandoned. Another well-known player of the online shooter, Philip “ImperialHall” Dance, noticed that in the new version of the game, his game character has unnaturally good aiming accuracy – the sign of an “aibot”, that is, additional software or software that helps the player he is completely reduced to aiming for this task.

A screenshot of Apex Legends is displayed in the middle of the screen with a cheat menu

Something's wrong: The League game doesn't have a cheat menu in the middle of the screen or a message about “Apex Hacking Global Series”.

(Image: / Screenshot: heise Security)

After the events, organizers postponed the championship final and are now looking for a safety gap. A person with the player name “Destroyer2009” claimed responsibility for the attacks. Chat logs published via XThis is an “RCE exploit”, which means there is a code hijacking hole in the game software.

Although this sounds possible in principle – such gaps were already rumored to exist in Titanfall Verifiable on popular source engine – but it can also be malware that is deliberately introduced into victims' computers in other ways. However, various streamers and anti-cheat organizations warn against starting the game “Apex Legends” until the situation is clarified – sometimes even a complete uninstallation is recommended.

This warning does not appear to have reached players of the popular, free-to-play title. Although Monday's player count was about 20 percent lower than last Friday, unofficial game database SteamDB showed no sign of a massive decline in players.

The main game is suspected of having a code hijacking loophole, but so is the accompanying anti-cheat software. Despite their advantages for honest gamers, such programs are still controversial because they sometimes interfere deeply with the operating system as kernel drivers and often cause unwanted side effects.


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