Make no mistake about it: with a barrage of hacking attacks on FIFA 22 player accounts and people losing millions of Ultimate Team coins, this is becoming a crisis for EA SPORTS.
Since mid-December, a handful of big names across the content creation community have been hit by account hacks, from RunTheFUTMarket to Bateson87. However, it would be disingenuous to suggest that just the big accounts have been targeted. It’s just one of those things where top streamers have stolen the headlines, but the problem is large enough for anyone to be concerned.
Hundreds of requests to cover this story were sent into the Dexerto newsdesk, many of which were ordinary players who don’t have an outlet. They have exhausted their options with EA live chat, pinging EA Help on Twitter, and tried everything else at their disposal.
Among those affected by the account hacks was FUT Donkey, who told us they had lost a staggering 50 million coins, worth over $3,000 on the black market. It would cost infinitely more to acquire that sort of in-game currency by just packing players with FIFA Points, making traders the ideal prey.
EA statement on FIFA 22 account hacks
After pressing the developers for an official statement, they released one on Friday morning, January 7.
Following two to three weeks of outcry from within the community, it was starting to look like an echo chamber. They had been asking developers for answers as more and more accounts were hacked, meaning the anticipation for a statement addressing the takeovers was through the roof. Players were probably thinking ‘this could be my chance to get clarity on how my case is being pursued.’ Well, it was frankly nothing of the sorts.
It said: “We’ve been made aware of recent account takeover attempts and are currently investigating.
“More information on how to secure your account, including how to enable two-factor authentication, can be found here,” along with a link to their 2FA tutorial page.
Not only was this a disappointment to all hacked users with 2FA already enabled, but it provided zero reassurance that cases were being looked at individually. From the users Dexerto has spoken to, many of them have also engaged with EA employees and communicated that 2FA did not protect them before this statement was pushed out.
This left fans wondering whether the cases were being looked at individually and hinted that the root cause of the issue – allowing hackers to infiltrate accounts, steal coins, and potentially take personal data – is still unknown to the makers of the game.
Second statement: Top Bins Live
FIFA Community Manager Shelden Rogers echoed these sentiments during an appearance on EA’s Top Bins Live show.
He said: “Our teams are currently investigating and looking to figure out what exactly has happened in each of these cases,” before pushing players towards two-factor authentication, doubling down on the initial response.
Account security is an issue we take seriously.
— FIFA Direct Communication (@EAFIFADirect) January 7, 2022
In the meantime, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious process for affected users – one that’s different from other general customer feedback channels, and not 2FA – to make sure the team knows your account has been hacked. This could be improved, certainly. It appears to be a case of ‘sit and wait until the investigation concludes,’ but there are no guarantees about the result. This is causing anxiety among the playerbase.
For a game mode that is built on microtransactions, amid accusations that it promotes gambling with its FUT pack system, there is nothing yet to suggest people’s hard-earned coins will be restored. If the audience is losing confidence in the developers’ ability to keep their money safe, what does that say about the future of the series?
With an increasing amount of FUT Clubs being attacked by cheaters, the response and steps taken to tackle the issue to protect users should be a top priority. People should feel like they have somebody in their corner, working hard against a strong plan.
However, they don’t feel that way.
FIFA 22 players react
Since the statement was released, many of the affected players have expressed their views on social media, with trader FUT Donkey stating they are now seeking legal advice to pursue the hacking situation.
They also said: “The statement by EA is an absolute disgrace. Every single one of us T100 traders/content creators who got hacked had 2FA on, stop trying to gaslight us. Clearly, they think they’re above the law or simply don’t care.”
Just woke up, the statement by EA is an absolute disgrace. Every single one of us T100 traders/content creators who got hacked had 2FA on, stop trying to gaslight us. Clearly they think they’re above the law or simply don’t care.
— FUT Donkey (@FUTDonkey) January 7, 2022
Another, from ADWfifa, said: “The statement that EA has just made regarding the hacking scandal shows how incompetent they really are… How can they tell people to make sure 2FA is turned on when the whole point is that people are bypassing that?”
In an article for The Mirror, Nathan Bliss wrote: “With each day that goes by without a resolution of this issue, more and more players are at risk of having their information exposed by hackers, so forget TOTY, EA needs to make this issue an utmost priority, to protect their player’s data and personal information.”
What is abundantly clear is that people wanted to see actionable steps that are to be taken by EA to combat the problem, return stolen coins to accounts, and restore a bit of trust that’s been lost in this process as well.
At this moment in time, EA SPORTS needs to stand up for its players, protect their money, secure their private information, and combat this with a strong response. The latest statement lines of communication fail to deliver on those key points, leaving more questions than answers – and you have to say, that’s an own goal in the fight against hackers.