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News (FYI): Fortnite teen hackers 'earning thousands of pounds a week'


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From BBC UK https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46624136

“Like many victims, he turned to Twitter to vent his frustration.

That was where he saw new accounts containing even better items on sale. 

"I was approached by someone who said I could buy an account for 25p and I could clearly see the account was worth a lot more," he recalled.

"I bought it." 

He knew he was playing on a stolen account but with so many others doing it online and making lots of money, he was soon drawn into the world of "Fortnite cracking".

"I was approached by a cracking team and they told me what it was and all about 'combos', 'proxies' and I guess they showed me how to crack," he said.

'Lucky dip'

He said they showed him where to find the vast lists of usernames and passwords published online from other data breaches over the years. 

They showed him where to buy "off-the-shelf" hacker tools needed to input those credentials into the login page of Fortnite. Once inside an account, they showed him how to take it over and then sell it to the hungry online community.

He insisted that he only carried out one cracking session. But in that single day he managed to access more than 1,000 Fortnite accounts.

"It's lucky dip basically, you either get a good account or you don't. People like the rarity of the 'skins' and it's about the look of them and showing off to friends."

The hacker said he was now a middleman for other crackers, selling on accounts he knew to be stolen. In his first few weeks, he made around £1,500 and bought himself some games and a new bicycle. 

He said he knew what he was doing was illegal, but his parents were aware of his activities and had not stopped him.


The National Crime Agency says there is a long-standing link between video games and hacking, and that publishers need to do more to prevent players being tempted into crime.

"What we want to see these companies do is not look at this from a purely technical standpoint," said the agency's lead on gaming, Ethan Thomas.

"What we'd like... is the gaming industry engaging more with law enforcement and looking at early intervention messaging on their platforms to divert [youngsters] on to a more ethical and legal path."

Debbie Tunstall runs rehabilitation days for low-level hackers who have been caught. 

She is concerned about networks like Fortnite's cracking community. 

"We know that these sorts of activities are linked to organised crime and we know that they are being egged on by more dangerous people behind the scenes," she explained.

"There is definitely cyber-crime grooming taking place and if we don't act they could easily get taken down that route."”

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