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Among Us players under spam attack — what you need to know

A still of nine Among Us players under a banner reading 'Crewmate: There is 1 Impostor among us.'
(Image credit: Inner Sloth/Valve)

The massively popular online game Among Us got infiltrated by a real impostor last week, with annoying spam messages flooding the game's player chats, pitching for President Trump's re-election and threatening to hack players if they didn't subscribe to the prankster's YouTube channel.

The three-person development team at Among Us creator Inner Sloth reacted quickly, pushing out a server update on the evening of Oct. 22 and a second one two days later. The spam attacks seem to have tapered off, but reports of occasional new ones were still popping up on Twitter Monday morning (Oct. 26). 

If you're not aware of Among Us, it's an online version of the '90s college game Mafia. Six or more players must cooperate as "crewmates" to run a spaceship, but at least one of those players will be an "impostor" whose job is to secretly sabotage the ship and kill off the regular crew members. Games are often public so that you can play with total strangers.

Last week, congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) drew more than 400,000 viewers in a live Twitch stream as they played Among Us.

It's not yet clear exactly how the prankster, using the pseudonym "Eris Loris" (apparently referencing the Greek goddess of chaos and a small, slow primate), manages to infect Among Us in-game chats. 

Players use these chats to talk to each other and to try to deduce who the "impostors" among them. But Eris Loris somehow hijacks player accounts and forces them to pump out identical messages reading. "Subscribe to Eris Loris on YouTube (or I hack your device)," followed by a Discord address, a shortened URL and the words "TRUMP 2020."

The shortened URL led to a site that sells cheats for popular games such as Counter-Strike Source, Apex Legends and Garry's Mod. There doesn't seem to be any truth to the threat that Eris Loris will "hack your device."

"I was curious to see what would happen, and personally I found it funny," someone claiming to be Eris Loris told Kotaku. "If you care about a game and are willing to go and spam dislike some random dude on the internet because you cant play it for 3 minutes, it's stupid."

During the peak of the attacks, Inner Sloth's Twitter account recommended playing only private games, or playing only with players you know and trust. Now that the threat seems to have mostly passed, Among Us developer Forest Willard tweeted that banning troublesome players like Eris Loris should work effectively.