A couple of days ago, one of the biggest game developers in the industry suffered a devastating attack on their servers. As of December 15, 2011, the damage that the attack wreaked on the Japanese servers of Square Enix and the information and data of their 1.8 million customers is not yet quantified.
Square Enix is one of the most high profile game developers in the industry, and has produced highly anticipated and extremely popular titles such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest—and is known among video game fans and avid gamers as a developer that delivers a compelling combination of addictive game mechanics, breathtaking visuals, and gripping storylines. However, the reputation of this game developer and publisher is on the line right now after the supposedly airtight and secure servers are targeted by unidentified hacker or hackers.
The spokesperson of the company says that they have pulled down the Square Enix Members Service shortly after their support teams have discovered the evidence of an unauthorized intruder, who have then breached an unknown number of servers, some of which hold the important and confidential data for the one million Japanese members of the site, and another eight hundred thousand users in North America. However, the servers for the three hundred thousand Square Enix members in Europe are relatively untouched.
This is the second time in 2011 when unidentified hackers attacked a big game publisher and the publisher’s website. Earlier this year, another Japanese video game giant, Sony, suffered from a series of attacks from hackers, which essentially affected more than a hundred million customer accounts. The Sony attack is one of the largest data breaches in the history of video game web services, and will easily dwarf the magnitude of the Square Enix situation.
However, this is not the first time that Square Enix suffered from an information breach. Earlier this year—around May—Square Enix management said that the email addresses of twenty-five thousand of their customers have been leaked, along with the resumes of some two hundred and fifty job applicants. The difference with this earlier incident is that the European subsidiary suffered the attack.
The most recent server attack was discovered after Square Enix experts found evidence of the intruder around noon, Japanese time, on Tuesday, December 13, 2011. To protect their servers from further attacks, they pulled down the entre Square Enix Member Service right after the discovery. The management began to inform clients about the problem on December 14—a commendable move considering that the damages to their servers have not been surveyed yet. As of the writing of this article, Square Enix is still conducting an investigation about the source of the attack.
But one thing is for sure—the affected servers were used to store the customers’ private information, such as their names and email addresses. Many of these members have also registered their phone numbers and postal addresses, which adds to the damage. However, Square Enix assures its users that no credit card information has been compromised.