Cybersecurity breaches in video games
A couple of video game related data breaches are in the news this week. Capcom has just posted a press release to its site about a breach it announced earlier this month, in which unauthorized access to the network led to a ransomware attack that destroyed and locked data on its servers and deleted access logs. Both personal and corporate information were compromised, including current and former employee data, sales reports, and human resources information. An investigation has so far revealed that no credit card information was exposed. Capcom has begun contacting those affected and discussing measures to improve their security stance going forward.
More unfortunate still than this Capcom breach, in my opinion, is an incident involving another gaming company, WildWorks. Developer of the kids game Animal Jam, their game is regularly in the top 5 rankings in Apple’s App Store for its age bracket. Like Capcom, WildWorks has been relatively open about what happened, explaining how in early October someone stole 46 million records by breaking into the company’s user database. The data for both children and parents has since been observed on at least one cybercrime forum, with information going back at least 10 years. Usernames, passwords, birthdays and other personal info were among the pilfered. WildWorks is currently working with the FBI and other law enforcement to help with the investigation.
Obviously, the fact that no financial information was included means that this breach could have been a whole lot worse. The severity of data breaches only surges when the data of minors is at stake. In this instance, parents are being urged to monitor their kids Animal Jam accounts and change their passwords if need be to something stronger. And since, moreover, the stolen data’s circulation on the dark web has been confirmed, it’s also important for them to watch for any scams that might come their way.
Online gaming, with its vast connectivity, has attracted audiences of all ages, and with that a risk to one’s personal information. Kids have easier access to games than ever before, and with that comes a responsibility to maintain data safe environments. As they get older, they should also be advised on the subject so they’re able to be vigilant themselves, and practice good cyber security for their own information as a matter of habit.