Security & Fraud

Fortnite, Minecraft Accounts Big Business On Black Market

Tens of thousands of stolen Fortnite accounts are being sold on the black market in a $1 billion a year trade, according to Bloomberg.

The news outlet cited a report from Night Lion Security, which looks into companies' vulnerable points. It found that criminals are using automated tools to mass-check for Fortnite accounts from hordes of stolen identities from recent data breaches. If any of them match up with the game's accounts, they're sold on the black market.

Some of them include valuable skins, meaning different avatars for characters, which Vinny Troia, who runs Night Lion, said are particularly valuable, selling for thousands of dollars. Regular ones go for $200 to $250.

Troia said the reasons people go on the black market and pay such fees isn't always complicated, and that “maybe somebody just doesn't want to spend 100 hours of effort to get there," Bloomberg reported.

Account takeovers can be common on online gaming and social networking sites, but gaming accounts can be valuable. And particularly this year, as the pandemic kept much of the world locked down for months, people turned even more to games as a way to pass the time. So, the fraud increased as well.

Fortnite, the popular beat-em-up in which players compete for weapons and resources, has been a big target for black market sellers, along with other popular titles like Minecraft, Roblox and RuneScape. Bloomberg reported that one seller peddles $20,000 worth of Fortnite accounts a day, and the four games combined add up to around $700 million in hacked account sales per year. And among all video games, the figure is around $1 billion per year, Bloomberg reported.

Fortnite has been at the center of a court battle as of late, with developer Epic Games filing a lawsuit after the app was removed from Apple's App Store over Epic's implementation of an in-app payment system, which Apple said violated its terms.

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