HelloKitty Ransomware Group

CD Projekt S.A. is a Polish video game developer, publisher, and distributor based in Warsaw, Poland.

CD Projekt Red, the videogame-development company behind Cyberpunk 2077 and the wildly popular Witcher series, has suffered a ransomware attack that could soon result in troves of company data being dumped online, including game source code.

The Warsaw-based company said in an official statement that the attackers breached the internal network and were able to collect CD PROJEKT capital group data before encrypting systems and leaving behind a ransom note.

CD Projekt RED ransom note

The report comes on the heels of weeks of a dispute over the company’s blockbuster release of Cyberpunk 2077, which suffered glitches and console problems that caused high levels of objection among followers, who had expected more than a year for the much-hyped giant sandbox game.

“We have already approached the relevant authorities, including law enforcement and the President of the Personal Data Protection Office, as well as IT forensic specialists, and we will closely cooperate with them to fully investigate this incident,” CD PROJEKT RED said.

After a similar attack in 2017, this is the second time CD PROJEKT RED has been hit by ransomware.

Researcher Fabian Wosar noted that the adversaries, according to his analysis, are likely the same ransomware group that hacked the Brazilian energy company CEMIG last December.

“The amount of people that are thinking this was done by a disgruntled gamer is laughable. Judging by the ransom note that was shared, this was done by a ransomware group we track as ‘HelloKitty,’” he said. “This has nothing to do with disgruntled gamers and is just your average ransomware.”

Claims of Stolen Game Source Code

The criminals demand in the ransom note left on CD PROJEKT RED’s encrypted systems that they were able to steal the full source code of Cyberpunk 2077, the Witcher 3, Gwent, as well as for an unreleased Witcher 3 version.

Moreover, they purportedly exfiltrated accounting, administration, legal, HR, and investor relations documents before encrypting the company’s systems.

Systems compromised in the attack did not include customers’ data according to information available following an ongoing investigation.

“We are still investigating the incident, however at this time, we can confirm that —to our best knowledge — the compromised systems did not contain any personal data of our players or users of our services,” the company stated.

The company’s network has been secured after the attack and the company is working on restoring the encrypted systems.

“Although some devices in our network have been encrypted, our backups remain intact,” the gaming studio added. “We have already secured our IT infrastructure and begun restoring the data.”

No Compromises

The Cyberpunk 2077 maker stated that it will not pay the ransom demanded by the ransomware operators and it will also not negotiate.

The Gaming studio stated, “We will not give in to the demands nor negotiate with the actor, being aware that this may eventually lead to the release of the compromised data”.

“We are taking necessary steps to mitigate the consequences of such a release, in particular by approaching any parties that may be affected due to the breach.”

“If the attackers were able to exfiltrate source code for the popular Cyberpunk 2077 and Witcher games it could lead to more targeted exploit development aimed at a widespread player base,” said Chris Clements, vice president of solutions architecture at Cerberus Sentinel.

Final Word

Therefore Security vulnerabilities or other issues revealed by source code leaks would be very impactful, as they would be for Witcher 3 and other CD Projekt Red games.

But taking a stand against digital extortion attempts is one of the only ways to discourage such activity, and make it less likely that you’ll be targeted again.

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