Hackers have breached the Neopets virtual pet community

Sharanya Sinha
Sharanya Sinha July 25, 2022
Updated 2022/08/05 at 1:41 PM

A hacker claims to have stolen information from virtual pet website Neopets, affecting the service’s 69 million users.The hack was confirmed by posts from Neobets’ official Twitter and Instagram accounts on July 20, tweeting that the company had “recently become aware of the potential theft of customer information” and had hired an expert firm to conduct an investigation. The social media posts did not provide further information about the purpose of the hack, but advised all users of the site to change their passwords as a precaution.According to details reported by BleepingComputer, a hacker named TarTarX began offering the data for sale on a hacking forum on Tuesday. The hacker reportedly demands 4 bitcoins for the data, roughly equivalent to $90,500.The details of the database project shared by the hacker include not only usernames, email addresses and passwords, but also users’ date of birth, postal code, gender and country, making them more likely to be stolen or exploited.

Misleading users BleepingComputer reports that a forum post posted by the hacker claims to have access to a live version of the NeoBets website database, which was confirmed by the owner of the hacking forum where the data was posted. If this is true, it means that even the precautions recommended by Neobets may not be enough to protect a user’s account from unauthorized access. The Neopets site was first launched in 1999 and has suffered from a number of security flaws in recent years, most notably after the change of ownership from Viacom to JumpStart Games in 2014.

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Forums hack and trade. And in 2020, security researchers discovered access to the site’s entire codebase being sold due to administrator credentials that had been written directly into sections of code discovered by hackers.More recently, the Neopets franchise has event looked to pivot into the metaverse, turning its beloved characters into a line of NFTs. But the move was widely panned by fans, with the operators of one of the most popular fan sites describing it as a “cash grab.”A request for comment sent to Neopets had not been answered by time of publication.

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