EA Origin exploit lets hackers hijack your PC, technically


ReVuln, the company who revealed a potential exploit within the Steam client last October, have done it again. This time they demonstrated in front of an audience at a Black Hat security conference in Amsterdam that hackers could easily hijack computers with EA’s Origin client installed. There are caveats, however.

“The Origin platform allows malicious users to exploit local vulnerabilities or features by abusing the Origin [Uniform Resource Identifiers] handling mechanism,” ReVuln researchers Donato Ferrante and Luigi Auriemma say in their paper detailing the exploit they demonstrated. “In other words, an attacker can craft a malicious Internet link to execute malicious code remotely on [a] victim’s system, which has Origin installed.”

Essentially, what usually happens when you boot a game through Origin is that it connects to a web link to launch the game. All the hacker has to do to exploit this system is change the URL which Origin attempts to open when you boot a game. If that URL were changed to a site storing malware clicking on a Battlefield 3 server in EA’s Battlelog could inadvertently install malicious software on your computer.

Now, while this exploit has been spotted it isn’t the most convenient thing to arrange from the hacker’s point of view. For one thing, many browsers will still detect the illegal action being performed and ask that you confirm you want to go to such and such address. So long as you read the address that you are being directed to and it’s a legitimate EA URL then you should be fine. Also, there’s the question of how a hacker can get to your Origin client to alter its URLs, something ReVuln don’t go into. So, as per usual, make sure you have your antivirus software up-to-date and don’t go to any sites that are clearly shifty. You know the ones.

Thanks, Ars Technica.