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BigPond GameArena hacked, 35,000 passwords reset

Quick disclosure from Telstra

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Telstra has taken the unusual – in Australia – step of proactively announcing that a service has been compromised.

The carrier has announced that it’s reset the passwords of 35,000 users of its GameArena and Games Shop services, stating that “the sites, operated by a third party company, were victims of a hacking attack.”

The carrier states that “no financial or credit card details were kept on the sites”.

“Information that might have been obtained was limited to BigPond Games usernames, the email address used to join the site and the encrypted GameArena and Games Shop passwords of up to 35,000 customers,” the statement said.

Users’ BigPond Broadband passwords were not affected. Telstra will be contacting affected customers with their new passwords.

Last year, a third-party customer-service provider used by BigPond was taken offline after an exposure that resulted in around 60,000 password resets, while in January, customer data was posted to a cloud-based spreadsheet. In both cases, the data breach was the result of process failures rather than external attacks.

Perhaps because of the criticism it suffered in those two incidents, the carrier has taken the commendable decision both to disclose and to act quickly. ®

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