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Videogame developer defies hacker threat

Runes dude moons forum warning on data leak

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The publisher of the Runes of Magic videogame is defying a hacker who has threatened to release personal details and payment information on users.

The threats were made in posts to the Runes of Magic forum, promising dire consequences unless staff at games publisher Frogster were treated more fairly and the security of the site was improved. Augustus87 threatened an escalating campaign, starting with taking Frogster's servers offline before progressing towards the phased released of customer account details held by the German firm.

The post was quickly deleted from the forum, but not before it was captured and preserved for posterity in a blog post by Sophos, and elsewhere.

Augustus87 published personal information on 2,000 users, including billing information, in order to prove he had access to sensitive data and to show he wasn't bluffing. To take such an action while simultaneously claiming to be out to protect customers takes a remarkably "twisted logic", a spokesman for net security firm Sophos told El Reg.

Frogster deleted the data before posting a message saying that the information dated from 2007. It reset the passwords of compromised accounts before running a security review, as a statement by the firm explains.

Right after the publication of the attack, Frogster systematically inspected all of its systems for weak spots and backdoors and implemented new firewalls, new user privileges and passwords, as well as introducing further security measures.

Frogster takes protecting its players from these types of risks and threats very seriously and uses all means to contain and prevent them. At the same time, the publisher is pushing on with its continual process of expanding and optimising its technical infrastructure.

The games publisher is keen to emphasise that the vast majority of its subscribers were unaffected by the attack and were able to go on playing the game as normal.

Frogster Chief Operating Officer Dirk Weyel told GameIndustry.biz interview that it had no intention of been coerced into anything by the hacker. Frogster has reported the matter to German police.

It's unclear whether a dedicated (obsessive) gamer or an insider carried out the attack. However, given the unusual list of demands by the hacker - which omits demands for payment - it wouldn't come as too much of a surprise if it turned out that he or she had some past or current affiliation with Frogster. ®

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