Words with Friends Hacked – 218M Players Affected

Words wirh Friends Hack

Zynga Reports Words with Friends Players Hacked – Pakistani Hacker Steals Over 218 Million Zynga Words Gamer Data

Zynga announced thier Words with Friends game was comprmised. In an interview with Hacker News, a Pakistani hacker compromised 218 million Words with Friends game accounts gaining access to player’s names, phone numbers, and other account information. Words with Friends is a Scrabble-like social gaming app available for Android, Windows phones, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, and Nook Tablet. The game can also be played on Facebook. Words with Friends is owned by Zynga one of the world’s largest social game producers. The data breach affects all players using the Words with Friends on Android and iOS apps who signed up before 2nd September 2019.

In addition, account credentials for Zynga’s game Draw Something may have also been compromised.

Words with Friends FOX
Credit: Zynga – Words with Friends FOX

The hacker, who goes by the handle Gnosticplayers, previously stole almost a billion logins from about 45 other websites and apps. Hacked accounts from fitness app MyFitnessPal (151 million accounts breached), file sharing site ShareThis (41 million accounts hacked), dating site CoffeeMeetsBagel (6 million accounts hacked), home improvement site Houzz (57 million accounts compromised), as well as Petflow and Vbulletin forum were all hacked by Gnosticplayers.

Some of the hacked user data from the previous data breaches was put up for sale on dark website Dream Market.

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Hacked player information includes:

  • Player name
  • Email address
  • Login IDs
  • Hashed passwords
  • Password reset token (if ever requested)
  • Player phone numbers
  • Facebook ID (if connected)
  • Zynga account ID
Words with Friends HAT
Credit: Zynga – Words with Friends HAT

Zynga reports that no financial information from the Words with Friends hack was stolen.
“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 stated.

Like many other companies affected by data breaches, Zynga hired a third-party forensics firms to carry out an investigation.

Zynga Hack – What to Do Next

  1. If you use Facebook to log into Words with Friends, then your account is still secure
  2. Change your Zynga game passwords. If you use the password across multiple accounts, the hacker may be able to hack those accounts next. This is especially important if you use the same password for banking apps or credit cards
  3. Do not reuse passwords on multiple online accounts. Even if an account does not seem like it is important – like social media or games – a hacked low-level account can give a hacker information they need to get into more sensitive data and steal money

What is Social Engineering?

Hackers gather information for future phishing email campaigns and malware attacks with a cyber attack strategy known as social engineering. In social engineering attacks, hackers gather personal information about individuals by scraping data from low-level online accounts like games, gleaning personal details from social media sites like Facebook that yield answers to password reset questions, or assembling publicly available information from corporate websites.

Publicly available data like name and email address may seem harmless, but it can be matched with data from other sources and used to gain access to credit cards and banking apps. Information from social media accounts can be used for spear phishing emails or to guess at and reset passwords to far more sensitive accounts.
The goal maybe to steal money, place fraudulent credit card charges, or launch malware attacks.

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What is Zynga?

Zynga is the developer of popular social games like FarmVille, Words with Friends, Zynga Poker, Mafia Wars, and Café World which are played all over the world. The company’s games have over one million players. Zynga has a market capitalization of over five billion USD.