In the world of gaming and e-sports, Fortnite has displayed its potential to amass a vast number of players – about 200 million users play Fortnite. Its developer, Epic Games, has made a profit of $3 billion after going viral on social media last 2018. Not only has it gained popularity across the world, but it has also crept through the cracks to the dark web.
In a report that was made by The Independent, Fortnite’s official in-game currency, V-Bucks, is being used to launder money by hackers on the dark web.
An analysis of this malicious incident showed that hackers resold their V-Bucks at lower rates to unsuspecting players. Before making a profit, the hackers illicitly obtain their V-Bucks by using stolen credit cards to purchase the gaming currency. Sixgill, a cyber-security firm, initially discovered the scams. Agents under the company were deployed as Fortnite users to observe and engage with the hackers.
After the investigation, credit card fraud and money circulation were under-the-radar illicit acts that hackers did without penalty, according to Benjamin Preminger, the senior intelligence analyst at Sixgill.
Unfortunately, the battle royale game has become a platform for laundering money on the dark web. Because children and young adults make up for the majority of Fortnite players, money laundering was practically more convenient and profitable for hackers. There is no precise estimation of the amount of money that was laundered by hackers. Nonetheless, the growing fame of Fortnite has resulted in a significant increase in cash flow within the game’s system.
V-Bucks versus Bitcoin
The emergence of Bitcoin as an electronic or digital currency has made relevant changes and improvements in online transactions. Similarly, it was also exploited by hackers as a tool for money laundering. According to CipherTrace, a crypto research firm, Bitcoin amounting to a total of $2.5 billion was laundered by criminals from 2009 to September 2018.
V-Bucks is just another source of profit for criminals. Unlike Bitcoin, making transactions in Fortnite seemed less harmful and risky to the hackers. One way to remedy this incident is to implement stricter policies and toughen up security protocols.
As the battle royale game continues to gain more momentum, Epic Games intends to remove money laundering activities before it escalates and worsens. A spokesperson of the game developer made a statement saying that the company will ensure its credibility for Fortnite users. As a friendly reminder, players are urged to enable the two-factor authentication, reset passwords, and keep account information private.
In addition to Fortnite’s money laundering issue, a lawsuit was also filed against the company. Rapper 2 Milly complained that his “Milly Rock” dance move was used by Fortnite without his consent, even renaming the dance as “Swipe It.” It is among the array of dance moves that players can purchase for their in-game avatars.