11:39 GMT31 October 2020
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    The videogame has earned over $1 billion for its creators despite being free-to-play due to players buying "skins" for in-game characters for real money. Although these "skins" yield no profits for players, many gamers often use them to show off in the virtual world.

    About 20 people from around the world shared with the BBC, how popular free-to-play videogame "Fortnite" has become a source of income for them as more and more gamers get involved in what looks like a hacker network. These hackers earn money by stealing and then reselling other gamers' Fortnite accounts, which can contain valuable rare in-game skins.

    One of the gamers, who is 14-years-old, told the media that he earned around £1,500 ($1,900) in just a few weeks by hacking into other people's in-game accounts and then selling them to other players. He got involved in this scheme after he was robbed of his own account and got an offer from hackers to start stealing accounts himself.

    He was later told where to find databases with leaked logins and passwords, where to buy hacker tools and was shown how to steal and sell other people's accounts. The 14-year-old added that he's now switched to being a middleman, helping to sell accounts, stolen by other hackers.

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    One more hacker, a 15-year-old from France told the British media that in his best week he managed to earn almost $3,000.

    Another underage hacker, a 17-year-old from Slovenia boasted he earned some $20,000 in 7 months by selling stolen Fortnite accounts. He shared with the BBC that nobody really checks what is done to users' accounts and thus "you can't get caught".

    However, Debbie Tunstall, who runs a rehab for hackers, revealed that some of them actually get caught. She shared her concern with the BBC that such hacker networks, which drag minors into it, are often linked to organised crime.

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    The game's developer, has been aware of the existing black market for stolen accounts for some time, but limited its influence on the situation by introducing in-game stimuli to enable two-factor authentication, which makes hacking an account a very difficult task for the average perpetrator. Still, the measure has not been made mandatory.

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    Tags:
    videogames, gamers, hackers, Fortnite
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