YoVille Hacked

VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi reports that several hundred players of Zynga’s YoVille social game recently found that their accounts had been hacked and their inventories ransacked.

“While the damage is contained, the idea of a security flaw in a Zynga game is scary, since all of them are digital, and protecting them is essential to the company’s livelihood,” Takahashi writes. “Nils Puhlmann, chief security officer at Zynga, said in an interview that sensitive information about players was not compromised. ‘Credit card numbers are not an issue here,’ said Puhlmann. ‘It is more a case of YoVille players disrupting other YoVille players.'”

“People hacking games to get free stuff is a long-standing problem, said Lawrence Pingree, a security analyst at Gartner, a technology research firm,” writes the San Jose Mercury News’ Troy Wolverton. “But with older games, hackers tended to focus on defeating anti-copying technology so they could play the game for free, he said. These days, hackers focus on scamming the game for free goods within it or to steal goods that they can sell to other players. Zynga itself is a past target. Last year, a British hacker admitted to stealing $12 million worth of poker chips from ‘Zynga Poker.'”

“For Zynga, and everyone else, simply patching the vulnerability seems to be all the company thinks it needs to do,” writes SlashGear’s Mark Raby. “This is still very much a developing segment of the economy but one day, hopefully companies like Zynga will be obliged to compensate users who lost digital possessions with real-world monetary value when they are the victim of a hacker through no fault of their own. YoVille is an outdated game that is admittedly somewhat irrelevant, but the issues this incident brings to the forefront are anything but.”

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and an eSecurity Planet contributor since 2009.

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