Last year’s notorious hack on Rockstar Games continues to cast a long shadow over the company. Recent reports indicate that files stemming from the initial breach, notably containing the GTA V source code and intricate details about upcoming games like GTA VI and Bully 2, have now surfaced on the internet.
As users on various platforms share screenshots and make claims related to the recent leak, the true scope of the incident remains uncertain. Reports suggest that a link to a 4GB file containing portions of the GTA V source code has been circulated, raising questions about whether the complete 200GB source code of the game is also accessible online. The conflicting information leaves ambiguity about the extent of the leak, with some asserting that the smaller file, which incorporates an early map of San Andreas, represents the entirety of the leaked code, while others maintain the possibility of a more comprehensive exposure.
BREAKING: The full source code for GTA 5 has been publicly leaked, the source code was previously traded between individuals before now pic.twitter.com/oMTGW0su0N— GTA Focal (@GTAFocal) December 24, 2023
The uncertainty surrounding the leaked data heightens the intrigue and concern within the gaming community, as users and industry observers alike grapple with the potential ramifications for Rockstar Games and the gaming landscape at large. This situation underscores the challenges faced by companies in securing their proprietary information against cyber threats and the complexities involved in assessing the scale of data breaches in the digital age.
The leaked files not only expose sensitive information about existing and upcoming Rockstar Games titles but also shed light on content that never made its way into GTA V. Despite being the second-best-selling game of all time, GTA V faced criticism for the absence of single-player DLC akin to the acclaimed “The Lost and the Damned” expansion from GTA IV. The leaked files now reveal that plans for similar expansions in GTA V were in the pipeline, with proposed settings in North Yankton and Liberty City. Furthermore, details emerge about a planned GTA V Trevor expansion, a character whose expansion was previously hinted at in a prior leak. Interestingly, some of the canceled single-player DLC content found its way into the online multiplayer component, GTA Online.
Hearing the news that Rockstar cancelled 8 story mode DLC’s for GTA 5 is incredibly disappointing.— GameRoll (@GameRollGTA) December 25, 2023
I understand why, it was simply more profitable to allocate further resources onto GTAO instead of developing singleplayer content which would have generated minimal revenue in… pic.twitter.com/5b1MmZJqSz
According to GTA Focal, the recent leak of Rockstar Games’ files occurred through a Discord message that included a link allowing users to download the GTA V source code. Although the link was promptly taken down, the leaked content has persisted as it found its way into other group chats through a Tor download link. This dissemination method, utilizing the Tor network, provides users with a more anonymous and secure means of accessing the leaked files, contributing to the challenge of controlling the spread of the compromised information.
The use of Tor for sharing the leaked source code introduces an additional layer of complexity for authorities and the affected company in their efforts to curb the unauthorized distribution. This incident highlights not only the vulnerability of major gaming companies to cyber threats but also the evolving tactics employed by those responsible for leaking sensitive data, posing ongoing challenges for the gaming industry’s cybersecurity measures.
The recent leak not only exposed the source code for GTA V but also reportedly divulged all of Rockstar’s files associated with Bully 2, the anticipated sequel to the 2008 game Bully. This comprehensive breach raises concerns about the potential impact on Rockstar’s unreleased projects, as sensitive information about Bully 2 may now be accessible to the public. The leak could significantly impact the development and release plans for Bully 2, providing an unintended preview of the game’s content and features.
Furthermore, the leaked files reportedly contain sections of code related to the highly anticipated GTA VI, revealing that the game was, at one point, codenamed “Project Americas“. This insight into the internal development codenames offers a glimpse into Rockstar’s creative process and the behind-the-scenes work involved in bringing blockbuster titles to fruition. The leak adds an unexpected layer of transparency to Rockstar Games’ operations, potentially influencing the way the gaming community perceives and anticipates the company’s future releases.
The origin of the leaked information can be traced back to the hack on Rockstar Games orchestrated by Arion Kurtaj, an 18-year-old member of the hacking group Lapsus$. The breach, which occurred last year, involved Kurtaj and a younger accomplice. Notably, Kurtaj was already on bail at the time, having previously hacked Nvidia and British telecom provider BT/EE. Despite being under police protection in a hotel and having his laptop confiscated, Kurtaj managed to carry out the Rockstar hack using unconventional tools. He utilized the Amazon Fire Stick provided in the hotel room, along with a newly purchased phone, keyboard, and mouse, highlighting the resourcefulness and persistence of the hackers involved.
Arion Kurtaj is thought to have maintained control over the majority of the GTA V source code, choosing to keep it private rather than releasing it indiscriminately. Reports suggest that he opted to sell the valuable source code to individuals or groups willing to pay a premium for the unauthorized access. Rumors circulate that prices for the GTA V source code could reach as high as $50,000, underlining the lucrative and clandestine market for stolen intellectual property within the hacking community. This black-market trade raises concerns not only for Rockstar Games but also for the broader cybersecurity landscape, as valuable proprietary information becomes a commodity in the hands of those with malicious intent.
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