Hacker Steals Details of 218 Million ‘Words with Friends’ Players



If Words with Friends installed on your phone, you’ll want to read this...



A hacker from Pakistan is making news this week after hacking one of the world’s largest mobile game producers, Zynga Inc, just months after they put the personal information of more than half a million users up for sale.


Zynga, a company worth $5-billion, is the developer of games like Words with Friends, FarmVille, Zynga Poker, Mafia Wars and Cafe World boasts a player-base of more than one billion worldwide.


The bad news for the company, however, is that the Pakistani hacker who goes by the name of Gnosticplayers has reportedly forced his way into the database of more than 218 million Words With Friends players, which could lead to the sale of personal information like email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook IDs and even hashed passwords and password reset tokens.


As mentioned, Gnosticplayers has previously sold details of more than 620 million users for sale across 16 separate websites, so if their previous actions are anything to go off- users of Words With Friends stand a high chance of seeing their details sold online in the near future.



“Cyber attacks are one of the unfortunate realities of doing business today.” - Zynga



“According to Gnosticplayers,” The Inquirer writes, “the breach affects all Android and iOS users who installed and signed up for Words With Friends game on and before 2 September this year.”


“He also claims to have hacked data belonging to some other Zynga games, including Pictionary-copycat Draw Something and the now-defunct OMGPOP game, which allegedly exposed clear text passwords of more than seven million users,” according to The Inquirer.


The developer of the mobile platformers, Zynga has published a “player security announcement” statement online outlining that “an investigation was immediately commenced, leading third-party forensic firms were retained to assist, and we have contacted law enforcement,” the company said.


“While the investigation is ongoing, we do not believe any financial information was accessed. However, we have identified account login information for certain players of Draw Something and Words With Friends that may have been accessed.”


“As a precaution, we have taken steps to protect these users’ accounts from invalid logins. We plan to further notify players as the investigation proceeds,” Zynga concluded.

It is recommended that individuals with any Zynga games installed on their devices reset their passwords, and monitor their emails and other online profiles for any unusual activity like password resets or changes to profiles.


Forbes is reporting that “the general rule to protect yourself from data breaches that companies seem to be unable to prevent: always use unique passwords for every account. That’s almost impossible manually; you’ll need to use a password manager to make it happen,” they say.

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