Capcom Says Older VPN Device at Heart of Ransomware Attack


Japanese video game giant Capcom revealed on Tuesday that, as part of the November 2020 ransomware attack, adversaries targeted an older backup VPN device for initial access.

Known for multi-million-selling game franchises, including Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Ace Attorney, and Devil May Cry, Capcom has offices across Asia, Europe, and North America. In November 2020, the company suspended some operations after identifying unauthorized access to its internal network.

In early 2021, the company confirmed that the personal data of thousands of people was affected in the incident, and now it says that a total of 15,649 people were impacted, down 766 people from the original estimation.

The game maker notes that the affected systems are unrelated to those that are used to purchase or play Capcom games online, and that external servers are used for these operations.

“As described in previous announcements, none of the at-risk data contains credit card information. All online transactions etc. are handled by a third-party service provider on a separate system (not involved in this attack), and as such Capcom does not maintain any such information internally,” Capcom says.

According to the game maker, its investigation into the incident has revealed that an older backup VPN device maintained at the North American subsidiary (Capcom U.S.A., Inc., located in California) was leveraged as an entry point into the company’s internal network.

At the time, the company says, the North American subsidiary, just as the entire Capcom Group, had transitioned to a new model of VPN devices, but the spread of COVID-19 in the State of California had forced it to keep older VPN devices as an emergency backup.

The attackers breached the older devices to compromise systems at Capcom offices in the U.S. and Japan, which resulted in data theft. The attackers also abused the fact that the game maker was transitioning to new defensive measures, but hadn’t yet implemented them, as they were still in the process of being verified.

At the next stage of attack, on November 1, ransomware was dropped on systems at both Capcom U.S. and Japan offices, and data on those systems was encrypted. The next day, the company’s networks started experiencing issues impacting access to certain systems, such as email and file servers.

Capcom also notes that it has since adopted additional protection measures to address the incident and ensure that its network is protected from future similar attacks.

The company also notes that the threat actor behind the attack did not specify an amount to be paid as ransom, although they did leave messages with instructions to start negotiations. Capcom says it never attempted to make contact with the attackers and that as such it is “not aware of any ransom demand amounts.”

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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