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Ubisoft probes sudden rash of hijack attacks on gamers' accounts

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Ubisoft is investigating a recent spate of hijackings of gaming accounts belonging to users of its Uplay platform.

Complaints about account hijacking flared up around 30 December, leading to numerous posts on support forums. "There is no one at Ubi manning the support system, and the DRM requires access to your account," one victim, who tipped us off about the problem, told El Reg.

Many of the compromised accounts have had their email addresses changed to uplay[somenumber]@playbay.su, suggesting one group of hackers (or perhaps an individual) is behind the attack. An official update to Ubisoft's Facebook support page said the games publisher has begun investigating the problem.

We are investigating the origin of these hijackings. In the mean time, if you have had your account compromised make sure you check and change the passwords of all of your important online services. We've heard people mention services like Yahoo, Amazon, and EA were also compromised at the same time.

To make your Uplay account more secure, link Facebook. This is my personal suggestion. If you have a Facebook account attached you can always go back to uplay.com and take your account back because the user cannot unlink this account.

Customer support is here to help while the security team works on it and we are giving the accounts back to the rightful owners.

Rumours are flying around that Ubisoft's UPlay service was hacked by Russian hackers but these rumors are unsubstantiated and probably best ignored until a clearer picture of what's happening emerges.

"While there's a rash of account compromises being listed on the Ubisoft forums and Facebook page, I'm not seeing much on dedicated gaming portals with high traffic such as the Steam forum, NeoGAF and elsewhere," said Chris Boyd AKA PaperGhost, a senior threat researcher at GFI Software and an expert in gaming security.

"Additionally, many users deny using so-called 'trainers' (cheat programs) which might have been emailing credentials back to base so there's not a lot to go on at the moment. One of the biggest problems with PC gaming is the amount of logins required to play the games - anyone purchasing Ubisoft's Far Cry 3 through Steam will still need to load UPlay to play it. It's quite possible that password reuse is rampant in gaming circles right now, which certainly doesn't help."

An informative blog post by Boyd on gaming account login overload can be found here. ®

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