You might not want to play a Dark Souls game online for a while, trust, you might not be able to do so. According to Dexerto and The Verge, attackers discovered a security exploit in Dark Souls 3 (and possibly Elden Ring) for Windows that allows attackers to remotely execute control and effectively hijack your PC.
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Streamers like The Grim Sleeper have experienced the potential harm firsthand; in his case, the intruder launched Microsoft PowerShell and ran a text-to-speech script mocking his gameplay.
The exploiter might not be malicious. According to a post on the SpeedSouls Discord, the hacker attempted to warn developer FromSoftware about the Dark Souls 3 vulnerability but instead turned to compromise streamers to highlight the issue. Only the perpetrator knows how to use it, but a patch for the unofficial Blue Sentinel anti-cheat tool is already available.
PvP servers for Dark Souls 3, Dark Souls 2, and Dark Souls: Remastered have been temporarily deactivated to allow the team to investigate recent reports of an issue with online services.
Servers for Dark Souls: PtDE will join them shortly.
We apologize for this inconvenience.
— Dark Souls (@DarkSoulsGame) January 23, 2022
Since then, FromSoftware and its publisher Bandai Namco have responded to the exploit. The player-versus-player servers for Dark Souls 3 and its predecessors have been temporarily disabled while the security team investigates the flaws.
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It’s unclear when the servers will reopen, but From and Bandai are clearly not going to restore service until they’re reasonably confident that players are safe.