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Neopets Hacked, 69 Million Accounts Potentially Breached

 

The virtual pet website Neopets has announced that it has been hacked. JumpStart Games, as announced yesterday on Twitter and the official forums, is requesting that all 69 million accounts reset their passwords. 

"Neopets recently became aware that customer data may have been stolen," reads the official Twitter announcement. "We immediately launched an investigation assisted by a leading forensics firm. We are also engaging law enforcement and enhancing the protections for our systems and our user data." 

The hacker responsible, as first reported by Neopets community site JellyNeo (via Polygon), has been found offering the whole Neopets database and source code for 4 Bitcoins (approximately $100,000). For an extra cost, the hacker would provide live access to the database. It's unclear whether this hack involves credit card information. Neopets charges a fee to eliminate adverts from the site and gain access to the forums and other premium services. In-game cash called NeoCash is also utilised for numerous microtransactions. 

Neopets, which debuted in 1999, were a brief phenomenon. Neopets, a website where players take care of a virtual pet, soon grew to millions of users, with original developer Adam Powell selling the service to Viacom for $160 million in 2005. Viacom eventually sold the site to JumpStart Games, which still owns it. The Neopets themselves require frequent food and care, yet even if neglected, they will not perish. 

One may also take them on a tour to Neopia (the Neopets world), where they and their Neopet can participate in a variety of minigames and enjoy the site's comprehensive social features. Although it is no longer at its peak, Neopets still has a committed user base. This isn't the first time that Neopets has been compromised. In 2016, a similar data breach compelled all Neopets users to change their passwords. 

This current attack is also unlikely to help the site's tattered reputation, especially in light of the recent announcement of the Neopets Metaverse Collection, a new NFT initiative that fans have slammed as a brazen cash grab.