The makers of the League of Legends online game have confirmed a data breach occurred affecting a portion of the company's customers in North America.
According to Riot Games, the compromised information included usernames, email addresses, salted password hashes and some first and last names. Anyone with an easily guessable password may be vulnerable to account theft, the company warned, adding it is also examining whether salted credit card numbers have been accessed.
"We are investigating that approximately 120,000 transaction records from 2011 that contained hashed and salted credit card numbers have been accessed," the company said in a statement. "The payment system involved with these records hasn't been used since July of 2011, and this type of payment card information hasn't been collected in any Riot systems since then. We are taking appropriate action to notify and safeguard affected players. We will be contacting these players via the email addresses currently associated with their accounts to alert them."
Riot Games is far from the only gaming company to be compromised recently. Nintendo's Club Nintendo site was compromised earlier this year, as was Ubisoft's gaming network.
"Gaming companies, and especially those who provide a cloud service for either online play or account management (which many of the times allows purchasing of games or in-game content), are a great and very compelling target for attackers," Barry Stheiman, senior security strategist at Imperva, told SecurityWeek in an email. "Games that use a merchant platform and allow transactions between users or vendors create a viable market for hackers. Bottom line, these systems transact money and draw hackers."
"In the last decade, with the introduction of the pay-to-play games such as World of Warcraft and others, the digital economy of gaming has become a target for hackers," he added. "This is due to the fact that by stealing and account, or hacking into the system, one can potentially convert digital money to real money. There have been talks in hacker forums about money laundering through that mechanism as well."
In the case of Riot Games, the company said it is requiring players with accounts in North America to change their passwords to stronger ones more difficult to guess. Additionally, there are plans to mandate all new registrations and account changes be associated with a valid email address and to require customers use two-factor authentication to authenticate any password or email changes for their account.