How did Anthony Clark become the FIFA video game hacker? Tech Talks

How did Anthony Clark become the FIFA video game hacker?  Tech Talks

The digital gaming industry is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks, exposing its clients — often underaged gamers — to fraud risk. 

Трубочисты Петербурга

In just a year, from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, Kaspersky detected over 4 million desktop infection attempts related to gaming, impacting 192,456 users worldwide. 

But what if you, your friend, and your son were not the hacked ones but the hackers? And what if you were all unaware of committing a crime?

In 2013, Anthony Clark and his three tech-savvy friends — Ricky, Nicholas, and Eaton — discovered they could make money by exploiting a flaw in the EA Sports video game Fifa. 

They did not shy away from authorities and enjoyed the profit made online. Until one day, the FBI showed up at their houses and overturned Anthony’s and his partners’ lives forever. 

The child prodigy

Clark grew up in Whittier, a small city on the outskirts of Los Angeles, California. Initially, he was passionate about crocheting, a hobby that satisfied his thirst for creativity.

«I like that when I crochet I get to do something with my hands and see the results right away,» he said in 2004 in an interview with the local Whittier Daily News. This hands-on activity was quickly overtaken by technology. 

«In elementary school, people started to notice his mind being a little bit smarter, a little bit quicker, when it came to electronics,» Clark’s childhood friend Zach Hernandez remembers. 

On the left, Anthony Clark.Euronews / Kaspersky

This scientific attitude did not go unnoticed. At 15, Anthony was offered a job at Microsoft and discovered leaks in video games, reporting them to the company. 

A professional experience that ironically inspired him for his future business ideas. 

The FIFA hacking

In 2013, the 23-year-old Clark launched RANE CORP, a company comprised of him and three friends. 

Anthony was the smartest amongst us. He was the best. I idolised him.

Eaton Zvearer Anthony’s partner at RANE CORP

The programmers used their coding skills to add modifications to various video games of the EA Sports company, including the popular football game FIFA. 

This practice, also known as «modding,» enabled them to earn virtual coins in online matches they never participated in. 

Their business plan soon paid off. RANE CORP began selling its coins to external entrepreneurs, making profits out of it. 

The end of the dream

Since the beginning of their businesses, Clark and his friends opened a bank account to register their operations, set up a Limited Liability Company, and paid taxes for RANE CORP’s income. 

They thought they were complying with the law, or at least that is what they stated. 

On September 17, 2015, the FBI knocked on the doors of Anthony and his partners’ houses. 

All members of RANE CORP were charged with wire mail fraud, a criminal offence involving electronic and postal means. 

The four of them were given two options: pleading out and avoiding entering prison, or risking going to trial that could result in a long sentence.

Nicholas, Eaton, and Ricky agreed to plea deals, but Clark’s destiny took a different turn. 

Hacker Hunter: Next Level is brought to you by Tomorrow Unlocked, the cyber immunity channel from Kaspersky, in collaboration with the Euronews Tech Talks team.

Additional sources • Producer: Marta Rodriguez Martinez


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