Esports league postponed after players hacked midgame

On Sunday, two competitive esports players appeared to get hacked during a live-streamed game, prompting the organizers to postpone the tournament.

Players were competing in the Apex Legends Global Series, a competitive esports tournament for the popular shooter game Apex Legends, which has a $5 million total prize pool.

During two separate games, two different players suddenly gained cheats in the middle of their matches.

“Wait, what the fuck? I’m getting hacked, I’m getting hacked bro, I’m getting hacked,” said Genburten, holding his hands up during the game, according to a video they posted on X, which was also posted on multiple YouTube channels.

A screenshot of an Apex Legends player, during a game in which he appeared to get hacked mid-game.

A screenshot of an Apex Legends player, during a game in which he appeared to get hacked mid-game.

In the video, it’s clear that at one point — abruptly — Genburten starts seeing other players highlighted on the map, even those behind walls. This is what is called “wallhack,” essentially a cheat that allows hackers to see opponents through in-game obstacles.

Before that, for a split moment, a window appears on their screen, with what looks like a menu for a tool to enable cheats, titled “TSM HALAL HOOK.”

A screenshot of a window, showing cheating modes, that suddenly appears in a competitive Apex Legends game.

A screenshot of a window, showing cheating modes, that suddenly appears in a competitive Apex Legends game.

At the same time, the game’s chatbot shows a message that appears to come from the hackers: “Apex hacking global series, by Destroyer2009 &R4andom.”

In the other match, something similar happens to another competitive Apex Legends player, ImperialHal, who also posted the sequence on their X account.

“I’m cheating, I’m cheating, I’m cheating, I’m fucking cheating,” said ImperialHal. “I got aimbot!” said ImperialHal repeatedly, referring to a common cheating technique that allows players to automatically aim at enemies, essentially getting the ability to hit opponents and other players without aiming at them. “What if I just don’t shoot? What if I just don’t shoot?”

Following these hacks, the organizers of the tournament announced they were suspending and postponing the tournament.

“Due to the competitive integrity of this series being compromised, we have made the decision to postpone the [North America] finals at this time. We will share more information soon,” announced the official Apex Legends Esports account on X.

Contact Us

Do you know more about this hack? Or other video game hacking incidents? From a non-work device, you can contact Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, or via Telegram, Keybase and Wire @lorenzofb, or email. You also can contact TechCrunch via SecureDrop.

At this point, it’s unclear exactly what happened. Electronic Arts, the publisher of Apex Legends, did not immediately respond to emails from TechCrunch requesting comment. Neither did Genburten and ImperialHal.

On Monday, the makers of the anti-cheat system on Apex Legends and other games, Easy Anti-Cheat, ruled out the possibility that there is a remote code execution (RCE) bug in the anti-cheat system. An RCE is a security flaw that allows a remote hacker to run malicious code on a target’s device.

“We have investigated recent reports of a potential RCE issue within Easy Anti-Cheat. At this time – we are confident that there is no RCE vulnerability within EAC being exploited. We will continue to work closely with our partners for any follow up support needed,” the official Easy Anti-Cheat account posted on X.

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