Massive Zynga hack compromises 170 million player accounts

A September hack of Zynga compromised 170 million player accounts.

Believe it or not, “Words with Friends” and “Draw Something” are still some of the most popular mobile games on both iOS and Android. Unfortunately, players of the hit games now have a problem on their hands. A new report from Have I Been Pwned (HIBP), an online curator of data breaches, suggests that more than 170 million Zynga accounts were breached during a September attack.

Hackers got access to login information including passwords, usernames, and email addresses. According to HIBP, the hack ranks as the 10th largest of all time.

Not So Friendly

In September, a Pakistani hacker going by the screen name of Gnosticplayers claimed to have carried out the Zynga cyberattack. They aren’t new to the hacking scene either. The malicious operator has reportedly stolen and subsequently sold the login records of more than a billion users from 45 different online services.

However, the Zynga hack might be the most important one yet. The mobile game company has a market value of nearly $6 billion thanks to hit titles like “FarmVille,” “Zynga Poker,” “Words with Friends,” and “Draw Something.”

Players of the latter two are the only ones who need to be concerned at this point in time. The recent hack compromised user login data for those two games. Anyone who signed up with a Zynga account on or before September 2 has likely had their data exposed.

When the hack occurred in September Zynga released a statement saying, “We have identified log-in information for certain players of ‘Draw Something’ and ‘Words With Friends’ that may have been accessed.”

The developer also said, “We are working hard to address this matter and remain committed to supporting our community.”

As of now, it isn’t clear exactly what measures are in place to reverse the damage or prevent a similar attack from occurring in the future. On Thursday, a Zynga spokesperson said that the developer won’t comment on the issue again at this time.

Potential Fallout

If there is a bright side to the situation, it’s that no financial information appears to have been stolen. This is a big break considering that Zynga’s games are notorious for offering in-app purchases. The company’s 67 million active monthly users contributed a total of $345.3 million to its revenue in Q3 2019.

Nonetheless, users who have a Zynga account should take steps to protect their privacy. The first step towards recovery following any hack is to change your password. Users should update their login credentials with a password that is difficult to guess and contains a variety of characters and symbols.

While having your login credentials to a word puzzle game stolen doesn’t seem like a big deal, it should. Many people (unfortunately) use the same email and password combination across several or all of their subscriptions. As such, once the data has been revealed from one platform, like Zynga, hackers can use it to gain access to other services like online banking and credit card accounts.

Though hacks are a daily part of today’s digital world, no one wants to be the victim of one. In cases like this, even a strong password can’t protect you. It’s worthwhile to remember that you should limit the number of places you share your personal information and only sign up for accounts with services you trust.


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