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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

ESEA served class action lawsuit over bitcoin malware scandal

Long-serving eSports organisation ESEA tarnished its name earlier this year by allowed unsuspecting players using their client to host bitcoin mining malware. The incident, which admins originally dismissed as an April Fools gone wrong, went on for more than two weeks before players began to notice their graphics cards were melting.

Co-founder Eric Thunberg initially pleaded ignorance, before owning up and pledging any cash made via the malware to the American Cancer Society. But users were understandably none too happy, and have pushed ahead with legal proceedings against the service.

The lawsuit has been drawn up for three claimants, Kevin Gallette, Jackson Smith and Roy Han, “on behalf of all others similarly situated” in California.

Though the exact nature of the claim isn’t apparent from its first page, the three men are seeking damages and demanding a trial by jury, citing laws including the Californian Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act, Unfair Competition, Fraud, Conversion and Product Liability, among others.

The total value of the bitcoins mined during the course of the scam was $3,713.55. ESEA have since promised to add the same amount to their Season 14 League prize pot, and will donate double that to the American Cancer Society.

In his final statement on the matter in May, Thunberg admitted that ESEA had been testing the malware, but blamed its actual use on an errant employee.

“What transpired the past two weeks is a case of an employee acting on his own and without authorization to access our community through our company’s resources,” he wrote. “We are extremely disappointed and concerned by the unauthorized actions of this unauthorized individual. As of this morning, ESEA has made sure that all Bitcoin mining has stopped.

“ESEA is also in the process of taking all necessary steps internally to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

Thanks, eagle-eyed Global Offensive Redditors.

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