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RockYou admits security snafu exposed email login details

Suitably contrite over 32m credential breach

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Social media application developer RockYou has vowed to improve its security and apply encryption following a breach that exposed 32 million user login credentials to hackers.

Sensitive login credentials - stored in plain text - were left open to attack as a result of an SQL injection vulnerability in RockYou's website. In a statement, RockYou said the exposed password credentials applied to widgets it develops and potentially exposed user password and email addresses. The developer said user credentials about RockYou applications on partner sites - including Facebook, MySpace, and Orkut - was not exposed by the admitted breach.

Our users' privacy and data security have always been a priority for RockYou and we strive to keep them secure. Our users have confidence in our services and we will continue to ensure that confidence is deserved.

As we previously explained, one or more individuals illegally breached one of our databases that contained the usernames and passwords for about 32 million users in an unencrypted format. It also included these users' email addresses. This database had been kept on a legacy platform dedicated exclusively to RockYou.com widgets. After learning of the breach, we immediately shut the platform down to prevent further breaches.

Importantly, RockYou does not collect user financial information associated with RockYou.com widgets. In addition, user information for users of RockYou applications on partner sites, including Facebook, MySpace, Hi5, Friendster, Bebo, Orkut, Mixi, Cyworld, etc., were not implicated by the breach. The platform breach also did not impact any advertiser or publisher information, which we maintain on a separate and secure system that is not a legacy platform. Lastly, the security breach did not affect our advertising platform or our social network applications.

However, because the platform breached contained user email addresses and passwords, we recommend that our RockYou.com users change their passwords for their email and other online accounts if they use the same email accounts and passwords for multiple online services. Changing passwords may prevent anyone from gaining unauthorized access to our users' other online accounts. We are separately communicating with our users so that they take this step and are informed of the facts.

RockYou added that it was investigating the causes of the breach. In the meantime, the application developer is applying security improvements. These include encrypting all passwords and upgrading its legacy platform to the "same infrastructure and industry standard security protocols we employ on our partner applications platforms". ®

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