The company behind World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo says that hackers have breached its network. The breach was detected this week, and while Blizzard chief Mike Morhaime says there are no signs that financial data was stolen, he is recommending people change their passwords.
Players and Friends,
Even when you are in the business of fun, not every week ends up being fun. This week, our security team found an unauthorised and illegal access into our internal network here at Blizzard. We quickly took steps to close off this access and began working with law enforcement and security experts to investigate what happened.
At this time, we've found no evidence that financial information such as credit cards, billing addresses, or real names were compromised. Our investigation is ongoing, but so far nothing suggests that these pieces of information have been accessed.
Some data was illegally accessed, including a list of email addresses for global Battle.net users, outside of China. For players on North American servers (which generally includes players from North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia) the answer to the personal security question, and information relating to Mobile and Dial-In Authenticators were also accessed. Based on what we currently know, this information alone is NOT enough for anyone to gain access to Battle.net accounts.
We also know that cryptographically scrambled versions of Battle.net passwords (not actual passwords) for players on North American servers were taken. We use Secure Remote Password protocol (SRP) to protect these passwords, which is designed to make it extremely difficult to extract the actual password, and also means that each password would have to be deciphered individually. As a precaution, however, we recommend that players on North American servers change their password. Please click this link to change your password. Moreover, if you have used the same or similar passwords for other purposes, you may want to consider changing those passwords as well.
In the coming days, we'll be prompting players on North American servers to change their secret questions and answers through an automated process. Additionally, we'll prompt mobile authenticator users to update their authenticator software. As a reminder, phishing emails will ask you for password or login information. Blizzard Entertainment emails will never ask for your password. We deeply regret the inconvenience to all of you and understand you may have questions. Please find additional information here.
We take the security of your personal information very seriously, and we are truly sorry that this has happened.
Sincerely, Mike Morhaime
Gaming companies are popular targets for these kinds of hacks. In early 2011, Sony's PlayStation Network was infiltrated and had to be taken offline for several weeks. Customer credit card info was stolen from Sony Online Entertainment at that time. In June of that year, publisher Codemasters was hacked. Valve's hugely popular Steam was breached in November last year. In some cases, credit card info was accessed; in others, it was not. Despite those and other hacker attacks on gaming companies, the worst fears -- those of widespread use of gamers' data by the hackers -- never seemed to become reality. That could be because data encryption stymied some hackers, but it could also be because consumers took action. So take action. Be safe and change your passwords, people.