Hackers first collect a few thousand stolen Fortnite accounts and auction them off on private Telegram channels, selling between $ 10,000 and $ 40,000 per newspaper.
“The black market for buying and selling stolen Fortnite accounts is among the largest, and also the most lucrative,” according to a new report from Night Lion Security, a cybersecurity consulting and investigation firm.
Low-end sellers of hacked Fortnite accounts earn an average of $ 5,000 per month, or $ 60,000 per year, or an overall average of $ 40,000 per month, or $ 480,000 per seller / per year in sales of stolen accounts .
Launched in 2017, Fortnite features a battle royale format where 100 players compete to survive as the last player standing on a remote island.
The popular game has amassed a huge following of over 350 million players and is available across multiple platforms.
Checking for valid Fortnite accounts can be as easy as loading a list of email / password combinations into the right software.
DonJuji, a well-known and respected cracker in underground hacking circles, said that Fortnite’s high-end cracking tools can average between 15,000 and 25,000 checks per minute, or about 500 account checks per second.
Epic Games is working to stop these massive account checks by limiting the number of connections per IP address.
“Hackers get around this restriction by using expensive proxy rotation services like Luminati or OxyLabs, which provide a new IP address on each request,” the report said.
The value of a hacked Fortnite account comes from the character’s “skin” in the game.
“This unique digital costume is what makes these accounts so valuable and is at the heart of the entire Fortnite underground market.”
According to several hit crackers, searching for “skins” on Epic Games logins will give an average success rate of 10-15%.
Assuming a batch of 20,000 verified accounts, a seller will end up with around 2,000 “skins”. These “skins” are then packaged and sold as one “Log”.
According to the report which also involved help from the threat intelligence platform Data Viper, hacking groups such as Gnostic Players and Shiny Hunters are behind the vast majority of breaches involving user data. stolen and are indirectly responsible for fueling an entire criminal economy with stolen accounts.
Roblox, Runescape, and Minecraft are three games that seem even more profitable.
“Adding a + 33% change, or 186 million per game, brings the total gross profit to $ 700 million per year for just four video games,” the results showed.
An additional 30% or $ 300 million per year in revenue can be generated by accounting for black market sales for all other existing video games, “conservatively making the entire pirated video game market a billion dollar industry per year ”.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic appears to be accelerating demand for gaming accounts as people continue to be unemployed, giving them ample time to play video games.
To date, video game companies have failed to slow this underground economy, with hackers and high-end sellers of these accounts continuing to generate between six and seven figures per year in revenue, according to the report.