Apex Legends esports final delayed by hack claims

Two characters in futuristic armour sprint towards the viewer. The character on the left wears a sky blue suit of armour with a skull-face mask and bright purple trim. The character on the right wears a silver suit of armour with yellow trim and a mask styled on a gorilla's face. They're fleeing from a large, spiked metal ball with flames emanating from it. Behind them, stood atop a piece of wreckage, a third character fires at an unseen enemy - a volley of flame emanating from their weapon.
Apex Legends is a battle royale-style online multiplayer game launched as a competitor to Fortnite

The North American esports final of online shooter Apex Legends has been postponed following claims of hacking.

Clips shared by players show unwanted cheat modes being activated mid-match, sparking panic among opponents.

The organisers of the official regional contest said the "competitive integrity" of the contest had been compromised but have yet to share further details.

BBC Newsbeat has asked publisher Electronic Arts (EA) for comment.

Two high-profile Apex Legends players, Genburten and ImperialHal, posted clips of cheats being inserted into their games.

Genburten was given a "wallhack" - revealing the location of other players - and Hal was given an aimbot, which automatically targets opponents.

Cheats such as these are forbidden in major esports competitions, and using them can result in a ban.

In both cases the players quickly announced they had been hacked and were urged by others to quit the game.

Two characters battle hand-to-hand in an industrial, factory-style environment on a metal walkway. One is facing the viewer, the other has their back to the camera. Both have large, tubular rocket-launcher weapons attached to their shoulders and have ammo belts and grenade holders attached to their bodies. A fire burns in the background as one character lands a punch on his opponent.
Apex Legends regularly introduces new features and settings with season updates

Volunteer group The Anti-Cheat Police Department - which works to combat cheating in online games - said hackers appeared to have found a flaw allowing them to access players' machines.

It said it wasn't clear if the vulnerability - known as a remote code execution, or RCE - was present in the game itself, or specialised anti-cheating software.

The group warned players against "playing any games protected by EAC or any EA titles [until] they have fixed this or can comment".

In a follow-up post it advised anyone who had participated in the Global Series tournament to change passwords on chat platform Discord and enable two-factor authentication on other accounts.

Regular players have expressed concern that their own machines could also be at risk, but there has been no official confirmation of this.

In response, the makers of Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) - the specialised software players suspected was compromised - said they had investigated reports of a possible issue.

"At this time we are confident that there is no RCE vulnerability within EAC being exploited," they said.

"We will continue to work closely with our partners for any follow-up support needed."

Apex Legends is a free-to-play, team-based battle royale shooter developed by Star Wars: Jedi Survivor studio Respawn Entertainment.

Launched as a competitor to Fortnite, it recently marked its fifth anniversary.

EA, which owns Respawn, recently announced that a Star Wars-themed first-person shooter from the studio had been cancelled.

The news emerged alongside the publisher's plans to lay off 670 workers across the wider company.

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