A staff member of the ESEA has been found to intentionally include a Bitcoin mining malware in its public anti-cheat client. Earlier today, ESEA's Co-Founder, Craig "Torbull" Leving, responded with an official statement
, admitting that the malware was indeed intentionally added to a beta client.
ESEA’s goal is to provide our community with cutting edge technology and tools. Whenever possible, the management and owners at ESEA initiate private tests on potential new products and tools that might interest our community. With the whole fervor around Bitcoin, we did conduct some internal tests with the Client on only two of our own, consenting administrators’ accounts to see how the mining process worked and determine whether it was a feature that we might want to add in the future. We thought this might be an exciting new tool that we could provide to our community. Ultimately, we decided that it was not.
Uh oh, well that doesn't sound good.
On April 13, 2013, after the initial tests, ESEA informed those involved in the test that we were killing the project and they should stop using the beta test. It came to our attention last night, however, that an employee who was involved in the test has been using the test code for his own personal gain since April 13, 2013. What transpired the past two weeks is a case of an employee acting on his own and without authorization to access our community through our company’s resources. We are extremely disappointed and concerned by the unauthorized actions of this unauthorized individual. As of this morning, ESEA has made sure that all Bitcoin mining has stopped. ESEA is also in the process of taking all necessary steps internally to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
The owners and management at ESEA all apologize to each of you that were impacted by the recent events and intend to make things right. ESEA has issued a free month of ESEA Premium to all of our community members who were enrolled in Premium for the month of April. We also ask anyone who has experienced any physical damage to their computers to open an ESEA support ticket.
The included malware utilized the GPUs of every affected machine, using them to mine for the virtual currency of Bitcoins. All told, the amount of Bitcoins mined was equivalent to $3,713.55 (USD). The ESEA says that they will be donating all of that money to the American Cancer Society and will also include $3,713.55 of their own money on top of that (that totals $7,427.10 in donations for those keeping track at home). Then, on top of that
the ESEA is increasing the Season 14 League prize by $3,713.55.
Though it's a shame this ever happened in the first place, it's nice to see how the ESEA is handling this situation once the news went public.