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Dark Souls servers taken offline after RCE flaw identified

Experts say PowerShell scripts could have been launched on other players' machines as a result

Video game Dark Souls has had its online player vs. player (PvP) server taken offline after a remote code execution (RCE) flaw was found by a security researcher whose bug reports were allegedly ignored by the developer.

The game's developer announced on Sunday that online servers for the PC versions of Dark Souls 3, Dark Souls 2, Dark Souls: Remastered, and Dark Souls: PtDE were all taken offline after becoming aware of the security flaw.

The Dark Souls community became aware of the issue over the weekend with the RCE flaw summarised through posts on Twitter, Reddit, and Discord. One online streamer was able to demonstrate how the vulnerability could be exploited to allow access to another user's PowerShell program.

"A streamer demonstrated that the RCE vulnerability allowed the remote user to run a text to speech program through PowerShell after crashing the game that the exploit was utilised in," said Jordan Dunne, security consultant at Edgescan. "Access to another’s PowerShell is obviously a huge problem and could lead to more severe exploits in the future."

Scripts run through PowerShell allow users to automate processes in their systems which can be time-saving when used properly, but also allows attackers to launch malicious code on victims' machines.

IT Pro has contacted Bandai Namco for an updated response but did not hear back at the time of publication. The Dark Souls Twitter account, which first confirmed the servers would be taken offline, has also been inactive since Sunday.

"Bandai Namco has taken the correct steps in disabling the online PvP aspects of the PC Dark Souls games following the recent discovery of an RCE vulnerability," Dunne added. "Removing the platform in which an attack could be utilised while addressing the issue on the back end is reasonably the quickest way to address a potential issue.

"As with the recent Log4j vulnerability discovered in Minecraft, vulnerabilities discovered within games can lead to massive issues not necessarily contained within said game."

Long-serving Dark Souls players will be familiar with security flaws in the game as in 2016, as reported by our sister outlet PC Gamer, modded items were left in users games by hackers who also corrupted their game saves.

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