Hijacking of popular Minecraft launcher by rogue developer raises malware fears

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Hijacking of popular Minecraft launcher by rogue developer raises malware fears

Members of the Minecraft community using the custom PolyMC launcher are being told to switch to a different launcher after the owner removed contributors from the project in an attempt to “take back” PolyMC from people who promote queer ideology and leftist online.

According to a report from Games on Linuxthe owner, who goes by the username LennyMcLennington on the developer hosting site GitHub, yesterday revoked the permissions of these contributors along with an update titled “retrieve polimc from the leftoids”.

When the update was released, members of the Minecraft community initially thought this was due to a security issue and that the primary key holder had been compromisedbut LennyMcLennington has since posted an update on the PolyMC Discord (which IGN has verified) linking both a page paste.gg Y github file they signed off with their PGP signature saying that their accounts were not compromised, and that they “simply weren’t hiding what they [they] believe more.”

IGN was able to confirm the update on GitHub, the page.gg file, and GitHub, but the screenshot of the original Discord post in the GamingonLinux report that LennyMcLennington removed contributor permission from those who were “promoting the queer ideology of radical left” did not appear in our initial searches, which means it may have been deleted or posted to a private channel on the server, but this is still unconfirmed at the time of this writing.

Following the acquisition, members of the Minecraft community are urging others to switch to a different launcher, both ideologically and as a precaution. As GamingonLinux points out in their original report, using PolyMC requires granting the launcher certain permissions with your Microsoft account, and the launcher is now essentially run by one person, though LennyMcLennington has been recruiting new contributors via the PolyMC Discord server.

While some fear PolyMC may not be trustworthy, LennyMcLennington also said on Discord that “there is no malware risk” after this acquisition, and they will scrutinize the work of any new contributors to ensure the launcher remains safe for their users.

“I will not allow anyone to contribute code to PolyMC unless I have verified all code to make sure it is safe,” the user wrote on Discord. “All I’m doing right now is seeing if anyone is interested in contributing so I can reach out to them if they need help contributing or if they have any questions about the codebase.”

Prior to this, LennyMcLennington was seen on GitHub arguing to remove the qualifiers for the protection of marginalized people from the PolyMC Code of Conduct. back in may, calling the inclusion of race, religion, sexual orientation and other descriptions “both repetitive” when these protections were already said to apply to “everyone.” However, users were quick to point out that without the written details, some people could freely interpret “everyone”.

While this history has put the community in jeopardy, Minecraft has been a haven for fan creations, mods, and launchers, contributing to the game’s longevity over the years. The tools available to players are so extensive that one fan created the entire known universe in Minecraft. Developer Mojang has nothing to do with what gamers create, but earlier this year it took a strong stance against NFTs and Blockchain technology.

Kenneth Shepard is a writer who covers gaming, entertainment, and internet weirdness. Find him on Twitter at @shepardcdr and listen to his bi-weekly video game retrospective podcast Normandy FM, currently covering Cyberpunk 2077.

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