It’s no secret that Among Us has been struggling with hacking issues in recent weeks, as the sudden popularity of the game has also opened the floodgates to cheaters. Yet it seems things took a particularly dramatic turn last night, as hundreds of players suddenly found their in-game chats spammed with messages telling them to subscribe to a YouTube channel.
In the early hours of the morning, players reported their games were filled with messages telling them to subscribe to a YouTube channel called Eris Loris. Many messages told players their device had been hacked, or threatened to “kill” the player’s device if they didn’t subscribe – all of which was quite alarming for players just expecting to have a normal game on public lobbies. The hack also seemed to vanish the game background, leaving everyone floating around in the black void of space. And, just for good measure, some included Trump slogans.
— TFAnimations (@tf_animations) October 23, 2020
— Emma Young (@o0EmmaYoung0o) October 23, 2020
— jazmine ? (@MercifulHavoc) October 23, 2020
The Eris Loris YouTube channel in question currently has 6140 subscribers, and features a number of videos displaying hacks for games such as Rust and SCP: Secret Laboratory. Judging by the video descriptions, the channel was previously used to sell cheats. Meanwhile, a quick browse of the channel’s discussion tab brings up hundreds of comments from disgruntled Among Us players, many of whom are asking Eris Loris to stop spamming their games. Some more politely than others.
Among Us developer InnerSloth has said it is “super aware” of the problem, and last night announced the game would be given an emergency server update to deal with the hack. This meant that those in-game would be kicked, and players were told to use private lobbies or play with “people [they] trust” to ensure that games wouldn’t be disrupted. InnerSloth developer Forest Willard said he was rolling out the update using a faster method than he’d used before, which would also have a greater impact on players. “Trying to be careful, but also, you might get booted,” he added. “It’s for the greater good at this point. Consider it an ’emergency maintenance for ??? hours'”.
As the in-game spam messages linked to a Twitter account and Discord server, I was able to enter the Discord and talk to those claiming to be behind the spam. While the bot was written by Eris Loris (in only six hours, he says), others are apparently helping by volunteering their computers to “add more firepower” to the spam efforts. Eris said their command and control server crashed four times due to the number of servers “donated” to them, with the group eventually growing to 50 volunteers and using “two of the most powerful servers offered, one with 32 CPU cores, one with 16 cores”. They claim to have hit 1.5m games, affecting 4.9m Among Us players in total.
I asked if the emergency update had slowed down the bot, to which Eris told me they “already have a bypass for the emergency patch,” and the emergency update fixed “a few popular hacks that would be seen in things like mod menus” rather than botting. When I asked if they planned on turning the bot on again, he initially said yes – later adding it would depend on “if people want to continue donating servers”. And as for the reason behind carrying out the attacks: “to see reactions and for the lolz”.
“I’ve been making cheats for lots of video games and I sell them, this is just a publicity stunt,” Eris added. “I have received hundreds of threats, such as death threats lol, but I don’t mind them and heavily doubt any of them are actually going to be executed.”
I also asked Eris about the reasoning behind the Trump slogans in the spam, which has a simple answer – Eris is a Trump supporter.
“I’m a college student and I support Trump, with the election and this hopefully getting publicity wanted to add that,” he said.
Eris Loris believes “there is a chance” InnerSloth could prevent the spam bot with the emergency update, describing the situation as a “[game of] cat and mouse”. And it seems InnerSloth has a real battle on its hands – not only with this particular spam wave, but with a range of other hacks and cheats that are currently appearing in the game. Willard previously told Kotaku the developer was “rushing to get an account system in place so we can have better moderation and reporting systems built around that,” alongside “making the servers better at detecting and blocking hacks” and “investigating client-side hack prevention”.
“I’m sort of scrambling to get all the right people in place, but I’m attacking it from multiple angles so it can get better in many ways hopefully all at once,” Willard added. Judging by the latest in-game message, it looks like those accounts will be coming to the game next month – but the severity of this spam wave means more drastic measures are needed in the short term, and InnerSloth has a busy weekend ahead.