Hackers auction stolen CD Projekt data with ‘charity fundraiser'

The Witcher Wild Hunt 3 game on PS4 Console

The hackers involved in last month’s cyber attack on game developer CD Projekt are auctioning off the stolen data in a self-described “charity fundraising”, new evidence suggests.

The Polish developer, known for games such as Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher, was hit by a ransomware attack in early February which saw hackers obtain documents containing accounting, administration, legal, HR, and investor relations information.

New evidence from security software provider Emsisoft, which had previously identified the cyber criminals as the ‘HelloKitty’ ransomware gang, suggests that the hackers have organised a “charity fundraising” event, offering passwords to CD Projekt’s stolen data as rewards.

Emsisoft threat analyst Brett Callow told IT Pro that the announcement from the hackers had been found on a Tor site likely belonging to ‘HelloKitty’. Upon further examination, Callow found that the public torrent file created by the ransomware gang dates back to 13 March.

“The Tor site would probably have been created on or shortly after then,” the threat analyst told IT Pro.

The invitation to the “charity fundraising”, which is likely to financially benefit only the hackers themselves, lists the “donation rewards” as “archive passwords for 10k$ [sic] each”, which would allow the fundraising winners to access “source and assets” to games including The Witcher 3 and last year’s CyberPunk 2077.

Invitation from HelloKitty ransomware gang

The first section of the note from the CD Projekt hackers, image courtesy of Brett Callow, Emsisoft (Image credit: Brett Callow, Emsisoft)

This is in line with previous predictions made by Emsisoft CTO Fabian Wosar, who last month told IT Pro that the data obtained by ‘HelloKitty’ would “most likely be leaked”.

The hackers added that other data stolen from CD Projekt, including “company reports, NDA”, would be “shared with [the] media” but not with the general public. However, the ransomware gang didn’t elaborate on which publications would obtain the stolen data.

Note from CD Projekt hackers

Image courtesy of Brett Callow, Emsisoft (Image credit: Brett Callow, Emsisoft)

The note was signed off with a request to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, asking him to purchase large quantities of Bitcoin in order to increase the demand and price of the cryptocurrency. Last month, the company announced that it had purchased over £1 billion worth of Bitcoin and was planning to accept the currency as a payment method for its products.

CD Projekt was not immediately available for comment.

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.