As games become big, people start questioning how safe they are. This was the case for Pokémon Go, and Epic's battle royale game Fortnite is no different. Just last month we discovered that hackers are earning thousands of pounds a week from the game, and now a new report from The Indepedent looks deeper into how Fortnite players are linked to crime and money laundering specifically.
This all revolves around using stolen credit card details to buy the V-bucks currency, before selling these at a discounted price. The Independent and cybersecurity firm Sixgill conducted an investigation into how deep this goes, and found multiple places on social media and in the dark web selling this currency.
Multiple operations in English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese were discovered, and here's what Sixgill intelligence analyst Benjamin Preminger had to say on the practice:
"Criminals are executing carding fraud and getting money in and out of the Fortnite system with relative impunity."
"Threat actors [a malicious person or entity] are scoffing at Epic Games' weak security measures, saying that the company doesn't seem to care about players defrauding the system and purchasing discounted V-bucks... This directly touches on the ability of threat actors to launder money through the game."
We don't know just how much money is being made from this laundering, but dark web sellers were found to be boasting about their wealth. These sellers accept bitcoins and bitcoin cash too, making it even harder to track.
What's more is that another IT security firm called Zerofox found 53,000 instances of online Scams between early September and October last year, with roughly 86% of these being shared via social media.
"Epic Games doesn't seem to clamp down in any serious way on criminal activity surrounding Fortnite, money laundering or otherwise," Preminger concludes. "While completely stopping such criminal activity is extremely difficult, several steps could be taken to mitigate the phenomenon, including monitoring the transfer of high-value goods in the game, identifying players with large stockpiles of V-bucks, and sharing data with relevant law enforcement agencies."
What should Epic do?