Apex Legends Hack Disrupting North American Finals

Apex Legends RCE Hack

The Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) North America Regional Finals were abruptly suspended over the weekend after players' accounts were compromised by a hacker. 

In an unprecedented breach of competitive integrity, top pros had cheats like aimbots and wallhacks forcibly enabled during the live tournament matches.

The incident first came to light when Noyan "Genburten" Ozkose of DarkZero found himself able to see all enemy players' locations through walls partway through the third game. Clips show repeated chat messages saying "Apex hacking global series by Destroyer2009 & R4ndom" as Genburten realized his account had been hijacked, forcing him to disconnect.

Despite being a player down, Genburten's DarkZero teammates managed an impressive second-place finish that game. However, the disruption escalated in the following round when TSM's Phillip "ImperialHal" Dosen had aimbot activated on his account without consent.

"I have aimbot right now!" a shocked ImperialHal exclaimed, before declaring "I can't shoot" as he lost control. With the competitive integrity irreparably compromised, that fourth game was abandoned and the ALGS organizers made the decision to postpone the remainder of the Regional Finals.

Evidence has since emerged that the hack may have also led to E8's Zaptoh being killed across the map by Genburten's compromised account, potentially invalidating the entirety of game three as well. With multiple matches tainted, it remains unclear if any results will carry over when the Finals resume.

The hack appears to have leveraged a remote code execution (RCE) exploit impacting Apex Legends' Easy Anti-Cheat protection. The Anti-Cheat Police Department issued guidance for players to urgently change passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and potentially even reinstall operating systems due to potential malware infection.

While the extent of the breach is still being investigated, concerns have been raised about the wider security implications beyond just the pro tournament. Some creators have claimed to find viruses on their PCs, though a direct connection is unconfirmed.

Respawn and EA have remained tightlipped so far beyond the Finals postponement announcement, citing the need to uphold competitive integrity. However, the unprecedented nature of forcibly hacking pro players' accounts during a premier live esports event has sparked an outcry about the failure of Apex's anti-cheat systems and calls for greater security measures to be implemented.

As the dust settles from this stunning incident, the esports world awaits further clarity from the developers on what went wrong, how it will be prevented going forward, and plans for resuming the ALGS North America Regional Finals. But one thing is clear - in an age of increasingly advanced cheats, comprehensive anti-cheat is more critical than ever to maintaining integrity.

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