The meteoric rise of the game Among Us appears to be outpacing its developer’s ability to keep up with malicious actors. On Sunday night, a specific ongoing attack forced InnerSloth, the company behind the game, to hastily roll out an update designed to kick bad actors off the game’s servers — likely along with some innocent players as well.
Among Us takes place in a space setting, where some platers are “crewmates,” and others are “imposters” that live among us. As crewmates prepare their ship for departure, they must locate and eliminate the imposters before they’re taken out themselves. It so far has 5.3 million downloads on Google Play alone.
InnerSloth is asking for patience while the company addresses this and other ongoing security concerns. InnerSloth is run by a three-person team consisting of one developer, one animator and game designer, and one artist. The game was released almost two years ago, but thanks to a long summer spent largely under quarantine its audience has exploded over the past few months.
This most recent round of attacks spammed players with ads from a player named Eris Loris, rendering the game useless. Players flooded the Among Us subreddit to report the activity.
“So far every single server I’ve joined is hacked by Eris Loris today,” one user with a NSFW handle name wrote two days ago. “I have tried maybe 40-plus games. Not a single one wasn’t hacked within 10-30 seconds.”
The breach uses bots to overwhelm the game with messages promoting a YouTube channel and Discord operated under the name Eris Loris, threatening to “blow up your phone,” and concluding with a “Trump 2020” endorsement.
Forest Willard, InnerSloth’s resident programmer, announced a server update Sunday night that tries to identify bad actors on the game and kick them out before they cause trouble. But the move comes with a downside, some players might get kicked off inadvertently, which Willard added in a tweet is for the “greater good,” that players should view as “emergency maintenance.”
“The reason I didn’t roll this update out sooner is that I was afraid of false positives: You totally might see the game think you’re hacking when you’re not,” Willard said in a subsequent tweet. “I’ve done my best to find this kind of bug, but my hand is forced this time.”
Threatpost wasn’t able to contact the person behind the Eris Loris breach by the time of publication, but he told Kokatu he attacked Among Us because he thinks it’s funny to rile people up. He added that the blame for the damage to the game falls on InnerSloth and the team’s inability to scale up quickly enough.
“Among Us may be a small developer team, but that’s not my fault,” he added. “The game is at a scale bigger than most games. There is nothing stopping them from getting more developers, so the ‘it’s three people’ reasoning means nothing to me.”
InnerSloth’s recent record might back up Eris Loris’ point about scale. A scroll through the Among Us subreddit shows breaches on the game are frequent, in addition to rampant cheating.
In early October, a massive spike in traffic kept shutting down the Among Us servers, according to Screen Rant.
But that hasn’t stunted the game’s growth yet. Among Us was the most downloaded mobile game in the world during September, with 83.8 million installs, according to SensorTower, which added that’s 40 times more than the same month last year.
And just last week New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went live on Twitch to play Among Us and promote voting, an event that drew in 435,000 viewers just to her stream alone, TechCrunch reported.
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