Epic Games response to the allegations that its game is being used for money laundering

Virtual, in-game money laundering is old news. Back in 2013, a reportby security researcher Jean-Loup Richet revealed that online games were becoming increasingly popular venues for criminals to “clean” their money through “the opening of numerous different accounts on various online games to move money.” Most commonly, criminals would send in-game currency to their associates in other countries, who would exchange it for real, untraceable money.

In keeping with Richet’s observations, cybercriminals on Fortnite are using stolen cards to purchase V-bucks from the game’s official store and selling them, discounted and in bulk, on the dark web. A joint investigation by the Independent and Sixgill, a cybersecurity firm, uncovered Fortnite money laundering operations around the globe, being conducted in Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, and English. Sixgill also found that Fortnite items took in more than $250,000 on eBay over a 60-day period last year, although exactly how much criminals are profiting from the scheme is unclear.

Fortnite money launderers are also targeting unsuspecting regular players by running scams on social media. In the game, V-bucks can be bought in bundles to spend on outfits, cosmetics, and other aesthetic attributes. They can’t be spent on anything that would give a player a competitive advantage, and they can’t be purchased outside of the official store. Between September and October 2018, cybersecurity firm Zerofox generated 53,000 alerts relating to fortnite v bucks generator scams. Scammers lure in players who are looking for cheaper ways to acquire V-bucks by advertising “V-bucks generators” and asking players for personal information, such as Fortnite usernames and passwords and credit card information. Although Fortnite’s age requirement is 12, younger children are reported to play the game. Zerofox warns that they are more likely to fall victims to scams—especially if their parents won’t give them money for the game.

In response to the allegations that its game is being used for money laundering, Epic Games said that it takes the charges seriously. “We encourage players to protect their accounts by turning on two-factor authentication, not re-using passwords and using strong passwords, and not sharing account information with others,” a spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter. But according to Benjamin Preminger, a senior intelligence analyst at Sixgill, Epic isn’t doing enough to tackle security vulnerabilities that enable money laundering schemes. “Epic Games doesn’t seem to clamp down in any serious way on criminal activity surrounding Fortnite, money laundering or otherwise,” Preminger told the Independent. He believes that Epic Games should be monitoring transfers of high-value goods in the game, identifying players with large V-bucks holdings, and alerting authorities when things look suspicious.

So next time you’re looking to save on a new outfit for your Fortnite character by looking to an illegitimate V-bucks generator, take care not to end up an accidental money mule.

the launch of Fortnite Season 8 as a possible release date.

“We are going to begin identifying players who have claimed the Eon Bundle and will be granting their accounts access to Save the World.”

To make things even better, Epic will be adding free Fortnite Save the World downloads to all future Xbox One S Eon bundles, too.

“We will also make sure that all future players who claim the Eon Bundle will be granted access to Save the World moving forward,” Epic continues.

“If you already had purchased Save the World and claimed the Eon Bundle, we will be granting you an additional 2,000 V-Bucks.”

But when will you be getting your hard-earned gains?

Epic says the codes will start being sent out over the next few weeks.

“We’ll begin the process of granting retroactive entitlements early next week when our offices reopen for the new year.

“We will provide an additional update on the progress of the grants around that time.”

When will Save the World be free?

Originally Epic Games planned to launch Save the World for free by the end of 2018. However, these plans shifted in October.

The company officially confirmed that they were pushing back the launch into 2019:

“We decided to move the free-to-play launch of Save the World out of this year. We’re working on a broad set of features, reworks, and backend system scaling we believe are needed to go free-to-play.

“Save the World has grown consistently since our launch in July 2017 and fortnite v bucks generator overall has experienced unprecedented growth.

“Scaling up for the legions of player heroes who will be joining the fight is key to providing an excellent experience. This applies to all of our players, old and new, so we’re taking the time to get this right.”

There’s still no word on when Epic Games will choose to make Save the World Free To Play, but we would suspect that such a big decision would happen at the start of the new season.

So right now, potentially look towards the launch of Fortnite Season 8 as a possible release date.

Fortnite V-Bucks Gift Card

While you can’t directly gift V-Bucks to another player, you have a couple of options to help them get their Fortnite fix: buy them a gift card for their platform of choice, or buy a bundle with specific content.

Buy a Gift Card for Their Platform of Choice

The first thing you need to do is figure out what platform your gamer usually plays on. Since there’s no such thing as a “free v bucks no human verification ios,” you have to buy a card for the specific platform. For example:

  • PlayStation: If they play on PlayStation, a PlayStation Store gift card will do the trick.
  • Xbox: Xbox players will need, you guessed it, an Xbox Gift Card.
  • Switch: For Switch players, you’ll need to grab a Nintendo eShop gift card.
  • PC: There isn’t a specific store for PC gamers to buy Fornite stuff from, but you can get them a generic pre-paid Visa to use towards in-game currency.
  • Android: The same goes for Android players—since the game uses Epic’s own launcher (like the PC version), a pre-paid debit card is the way to go.
  • iOS: Since Fortnite is available from the iOS App Store, an iTunes gift card is the best answer here.

Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Amazon, and other retailers usually carry physical versions of platform-specific gift cards, which you can stick inside an envelope for your gamer to unwrap on their Winter Solstice holiday of practice.

The player will need to redeem the gift or debit card on their own once they get back to their system, but after that, they can use that money to buy anything from those digital stores. That means they can buy another game, downloadable content, or Fortnite’s V-Bucks. What the player chooses to use the gift card for will be up to them—you have no way to “force” them to use it on V-Bucks.

Get Them Some Sweet In-Game Goods in Meatspace

If you want to make sure they get something they can use in-game, Fortnite also offers specific outfits as downloadable content (these are digital items you purchase in stores). For example, your gamer can get The Summit Striker Pack, which unlocks the Summit Striker outfit, the Top Notch Bling Pack and 600 V-Bucks.

Another option is the Deep Freeze Bundle. This costs $30 and unlocks the winter-themed Frostbite Outfit, Cold Front Glider, Chill-Axe Pickaxe, and 1,000 V-Bucks. If your gamer already has any of those cosmetic items, they will instead receive a comparable amount of V-Bucks. This bundle is available digitally, or in stores like Best Buy, so you still have something for your gamer to unwrap on the holidays.

Fortnite set to host an EDM gig by celebrated DJ Marshmello

Now, concerts are moving into the virtual space, with popular game Fortnite set to host an EDM gig by celebrated DJ Marshmello inside Fortnite Battle Royale on Saturday, February 2. For non-Marshmello fans, his collaboration with Bastille, Happier, was number one on the Billboard electronic songs chart for over 18 weeks recently.

Information has been leaking about the event for the past few days. So far, we know it will begin at 7pm GMT (2pm EST) and will take place in Pleasant Park on the Fortnite map.

If you want to get into the gig spirit, there will be a comestic bundle featuring a Marshmello skin, pickaxe and spray, up for purchase.

As well, new animations for dancing and jumping have been leaked too – presumably, the new shapes you can throw at the gig v buck generator 2019.

It’s really interesting that Fortnite is partnering with such a huge musician like Marshmello to throw an in-game concert, the first of its kind. Yet, it speaks to the many different ways that people are gaming online now.

Whilst a lot of the headlines around Fortnite will talk about its addictive, sadistic nature, which forces you to kill people, this doesn’t mean that all the 80 million people playing the game monthly will be following this line. According to a popular Medium post published last August, a lot of young gamers use Fortnite as a way to hang out with their friends, digitally instead of in person.

As journalist and author Keith Stuart wrote: “For my sons and a lot of kids their age, Fortnite is not a game they play, it’s a place they go — and, importantly, it’s a place they go with friends and not with Mom and Dad. It’s fulfilling the same development role as those illicit teen spaces from the 1970s and ’80s — those dodgy youth clubs, arcades, and video stores that we discovered unchaperoned.”

Holding a concert that people can attend is just another extension of this ideal for Fortnite, that it’s a place people are spending time with one another, albeit just not IRL.

This is emblematic of how young people conduct their time now. According to a recent report by Ofcom, children in the UK (aged five to 15) are swapping TV for YouTube and Netflix, with those aged 12-15 reporting they prefer to watch YouTube than a standard old TV.

This is the generation that is growing up on the internet so it makes sense that that’s where they choose to spend their time.

Epic Games is hosting a private event in Los Angeles in the first week of February

Epic Games is hosting a private event in Los Angeles in the first week of February. A part of the agenda will include “playing custom matches to help test unreleased spectating features and tools that will be used in future events” according to an email from Epic Games sent to YouTuber BluenightEdgar as reported by Fortnite news site Fortnite Insider. In return for participating in the spectator mode test sessions, players would get free food and V-Bucks. The amount of free v buck generator that would be given has not been revealed. Event timings are as follows.

Fortnite spectator mode event timings

  • February 4 – 10:00 am – 5:00pm PT
  • February 5 – 0:00 am – 5:00pm PT
  • February 6 – 0:00 am – 5:00pm PT
  • February 7 – 0:00 am – 5:00pm
  • February 8 – 0:00 am – 5:00pm PT
  • February 11 – 0:00 am – 5:00pm PT
  • February 12 – 0:00 am – 5:00pm PT

The report from Fortnite Insider also refers to Fortnite leaker Lucas Yoshi who tweeted an image of what appears to be the game’s code that mentions a spectate button.

“So it seems the ‘join as player’ button is related to spectating? I’ll look a bit more,” the tweet reads. This was followed up by a second tweet that mentions that it was added in the Fortnite 7.20 update along with “>InSpectatorQueueType >PassThrough >SpectateButton >ToggleSpectator”.

It is possible that this feature would be used for events only, though players have been asking for the ability to spectate their friends while waiting for a match to end. Furthermore, it could be possible that Epic Games could be developing spectator mode for events first and roll it out for all users at a later date. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long to find out.

Criminals are buying V-Bucks from the official Fortnite store using stolen credit card

Criminals are buying V-Bucks from the official Fortnite store using stolen credit card information. The V-Bucks are then sold in online black markets at discounted rates to “clean” the money, according to an investigation by The Independent and research by cybersecurity firm Sixgill.

The discounted V-Bucks may be found for sale on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, but most of the money laundering happens on the dark web, which is a part of the internet that may only be accessed through special software. This is where a lot of illegal activity takes place, and apparently, money laundering through Fortnite‘s V-Bucks is now part of the list.

Sixgill agents discovered the money laundering operation by pretending to be interested customers who are looking to unlock Fortnite items on the cheap.

“Criminals are executing carding fraud and getting money in and out of the free v bucks generator system with relative impunity,” Sixgill senior intelligence analyst Benjamin Preminger told The Independent. The criminals are said to be “scoffing” at the weak security measures implemented by Epic Games, going so far as saying that the developer “doesn’t seem to care” about fraud in Fortnite.

Epic Games issued a response to the report, but did not specify what it will do to address the problem.

“Epic Games takes these issues seriously, as chargebacks and fraud put our players and our business at risk,” a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. “As always, we encourage players to protect their accounts by turning on two-factor authentication, not re-using passwords and using strong passwords, and not sharing account information with others.”

It is unclear how much criminals are making by laundering money through Fortnite, but it is likely a lucrative illegal venture considering that the game generated $3 billion in profits for Epic Games last year. Using V-Bucks for money laundering would not have been possible if not for Fortnite‘s immense popularity, and unfortunately, there does not seem to be a resolution to the issue on the horizon.

Epic Games revealed the fate of Fortnite’s co-op mode ‘Save The World

 

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1581789015

In a state-of-development blog post, Epic Games revealed the fate of Fortnite’s co-op mode ‘Save The World.’

While Fortnite: Battle Royale is free-to-play, ‘Save The World’ (the original Fortnite mode) is still pay-to-play. Unfortunately, that isn’t changing any time soon. While a 2018 move to free-to-play was originally the plan, that’s no longer the case:

We decided to move the free-to-play launch of Save the World out of this year. We’re working on a broad set of features, reworks, and backend system scaling we believe are needed to go free-to-play. Save the World has grown consistently since our launch in July 2017 and Fortnite overall has experienced unprecedented growth. Scaling up for the legions of player heroes who will be joining the fight is key to providing an excellent experience. This applies to all of our players, old and new, so we’re taking the time to get this right.

To thank our founders, both new and old, if you log in and play during the Fortnitemares Event, you’ll receive both Brainiac Jonesy and Skull Ranger Ramirez for free vbucks no human verification!

In other words, the game just isn’t ready. From what little I’ve played of Save The World, I tend to agree. It’s rough around the edges. It’s also remarkably different than Battle Royale in lots of small ways (obviously it’s quite different in terms of PvE vs PvP.)

Waiting until the game is in better shape to launch to the masses is the smart move, even if it is disappointing. For players who really enjoy buying skins in Fortnite, it still may be worth paying to play as you can earn quite a few V-Bucks in STW which you can then spend in the battle royale portion of the game.

Threat actors are scoffing at Epic Games’ weak security measures

However, an investigation – which was carried out by The Independent – has uncovered many of the dark secrets behind a growing illegal market that relies solely on the in-game currency in order to clean dirty money.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1581791649
Fortnite’s V-Bucks can be used to buy different items from the game’s online store.

V-Bucks are reportedly being bought by criminals using stolen credit card details and are being offered to players for a discounted price online.

The report was put together in collaboration with Sixgill, a cyber security firm, and found that the cut price deals are also available on the open web as well, with many sellers using social media platforms to advertize – meaning parents might have unknowingly bought illegally sourced V-Bucks for their children.

Over 53,000 alerts related to v buck generator scams were recorded by ZeroFOX during September and October in 2018, with 2% found on YouTube, 11% coming from web domains and a staggering 86% from social media.

“Threat actors are scoffing at Epic Games’ weak security measures, saying that the company doesn’t seem to care about players defrauding the system and purchasing discounted V-bucks” Benjamin Preminger, a senior intelligence analyst at Sixgill, told The Independent. “This directly touches on the ability of threat actors to launder money through the game.”

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1581791649
A screengrab from January, 2019, showing a Fortnite V-Bucks advert from a popular dark web vendor.

While it’s difficult to calculate just how much money cybercriminals have made from these methods, Sixgill reckons Fortnite items grossed north of $250,000 on eBay during a period of 60 days last year.

One post from the dark web, which can be seen in the screenshot above, shows just how easy it can be for somebody to be tricked into buying these illegal V-Bucks. They are available at a massively discounted rate and customers were given the choice by this vendor to pay with dollars or cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

Fornite Chilly Gnome Locations

You may remember a previous fortnite challenge where players were asked to seek out hungry gnomes, and this challenge plays out very similarly. The gnomes are pretty much what you imagine, little garden gnomes. To help you hone in on their locations, listen for the sound of shivering, which serves as an audio tell to let you know you’re getting close. They’re almost exclusively located in the snow, snow-covered southwestern corner of the map, as you can see below.

If you want to speed the whole process up and get it done lickity-split, you can follow our guide below. We’ve scoured the island and put together a map and list that’ll direct you to the exact locations of the Chilly Gnomes. You can also watch the video above to see us complete the challenge, and follow our lead.

Fornite Chilly Gnome Locations

http://continentalgiant.us/
  • Southwest of Tilted Towers: Around grid reference C6 in the top left of the quadrant
  • West of Lucky Landing: Around grid reference E10, above the cliff
  • Lucky Landing: Around grid reference E10, above the “U” in “Lucky Landing”
  • Snobby Shores: Next to the Viking Ship amongst the icy rocks around grid reference B6
  • Polar Peak: Next to the campfire facing the tower around grid reference C8
  • Tilted Towers: In front of the RV just to the south of the area around grid reference D6
  • Shifty Shafts: Locate the giant tree nestled in the rocky outcropping and you’ll find the gnome nearby too
  • Frosty Flights: To the south around grid reference B9. Find the crashed plane and drop through the hole nearby.

The rest of Week 6’s fortnite v bucks generator challenges are fairly simple and generally focused on doing damage to enemies, visiting specific locations, or searching ammo boxes. Read our full Fortnite Season 7, Week 6 challenge list for more on those.