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Gamers have reported losing millions of dollars to hackers running customized software which allows them to steal weapons, loot money, and even make people blow up in their own apartments, according to prominent Grand Theft Auto V YouTube reporter DomIsLive, who devoted an issue of his daily show to GTA V hacks this month.
Yahoo News reports that multiple players have been affected by glitches in online games, described variously as “unfairly modded”, ie using in-game tools, or simply as “hacked”.
DomIsLive, who has nearly half a million subscribers on YouTube, says that several of his subscribers reported losing “millions” in online games which had seemingly been hacked.
On Rockstar’s forums, various gamers complain about having lost large sums of in-game currency to similar GTA V hacks. DomIsLive claims to have seen multiple threads on the forums relating to the same or similar hacks.
ESET Distinguished Researcher Aryeh Goretsky looks in detail at the blurred lines between cheating and crime in an extended blog post on We Live Security, saying, “Computer gaming is a huge and a wildly successful market, and as in any system that works at scale, there are going to be so-called businessmen or entrepreneurs who “seek to optimize their return on investment through whatever means possible” or, to put it more succinctly, criminals who abuse the ecosystem.”
It appears GTA V’s online game system is not exempt.
In one screenshot posted on DomisLive’s channel, a gamer complains, “Dear Rockstar, I have just been robbed of my weapons by an unfair modder. He stole my weapons, causing me to pay around 1,000,000 and I earned it fair and square, and I wondered if I could get my money back because I’m extremely frustrated.”
A Rockstar games representative replies, saying that the team will investigate, but warning that, “Rockstar will definitely look into this, however they may not be able to reimburse you with weapons and/or GTA dollars.”
It’s unclear whether one specific GTA V hack is responsible, or a multitude of methods. DomisLive advises his subscribers, “Losing their money in public sessions, I advise you to stay out of public sessions and stick to private sessions with this friend. If you see something strange happening, and if you see someone dropping their money, leave that lobby now.”
Responses from his subscribers seem to indicate that the problem is worse on Xbox 360 than on PlayStation 3. One poster says, “On Xbox it seems like every 20 sessions you join, you find one [a hacker]. On the PS3 I haven’t found that many, and from what people have told me, it’s because there aren’t that many.”
Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security