Out of estus

'Dark Souls' series servers shut down due to nasty exploit

Prepare to cry.

Screenshot of Dark Souls
From Software

Whether you're getting smashed to smithereens by Executioner Smough or thoroughly perforated by Dragon Slayer Ornstein, we can all agree that Dark Souls is a punishing game. While that punishment ideally should not extend to your gaming PC, a security hole uncovered by the Dark Souls community could give a hacker unfettered access under the right circumstances.

The exploit is so bad that Bandai Namco has shut down the servers for the Dark Souls series on PC in order to deal with it, including Dark Souls 1, 2, and 3. No word on when they might come back.

The ember still burns — The exploit became public knowledge a few days ago when the Souls streamer The_Grim_Sleeper experienced it firsthand. During an invasion, the streamer's game crashed, and the soothing voice of Microsoft Sam began to criticize his playstyle. According to The_Grim_Sleeper, Microsoft Powershell opened on its own on his PC, which indicates that a hacker used the exploit to trigger a text-to-speech haranguing.

The security hole is apparently an RCE (remote code execution) exploit, which can allow hackers to run all sorts of code on a victim's computer, in order to steal personal information or otherwise. The upside is that the fan-made Dark Souls 3 anti-cheat mod Blue Sentinel has already been patched to protect against this vulnerability, but it seems that Bandai Namco isn't taking any chances.

White hats? — It's been suggested by some in the Souls community that this public outcry wasn't the work of a malicious hacker looking to score big. Instead, it was a neutral party who discovered the exploit and tried to get FromSoft to fix it, but he was ignored. So, in an attempt to get it resolved, that person started using it on streamers in order to get the company's attention. Mission accomplished, we guess.

Apparently, some in the community were concerned that the upcoming Elden Ring would also suffer from this same exploit, since the Souls games use very similar network code across the many iterations. Hopefully, this means that enthusiastic Elden Ring players won't suffer a nasty February surprise when it comes out in a month.