Codemasters, the UK-based video game development company, has fallen foul of hackers, who have broken into their network and stolen customer information.
In an email sent to customers, Codemasters explained that the intrusion was detected on Friday June 3rd, and users are urged to change their online passwords and keep an eye open for scams which might exploit the stolen information.
Names, addresses, usernames, dates of birth, telephone numbers, gamer tags, and encrypted passwords are just some of the pieces of information stolen by the hackers. Fortunately, the firm assures customers that credit card information was not included in the hackers' haul, but the data which was exposed would be of value to phishers and other online criminals.
It's clearly a serious problem, even if some online gamers are trying to see the funny side:
I see Codemasters have been hacked now. Luckily the hackers already have all my details from my PS3...—
Sam Robson (@Sam_Robson) June 10, 2011
In response, Codemasters has shut down its website - obviously fearful that it could be breached again before its security has been properly assessed - and visitors are now redirected to the firm's Facebook page instead.
Sophos recommends that Codemasters customers change their passwords as quickly as possible - not just for the Codemasters website, but also on any other website where you might have been using the same password.
And it's essential that you choose a strong, unique password.
Not sure what a strong password is, or why it's important you should choose a unique one? Watch our video.
(Enjoy this video? You can check out more on the SophosLabs YouTube channel and subscribe if you like)
Unfortunately, many internet users have chosen to use the same password on multiple websites. So if your password was stolen during the Codemasters hack, it could then be used to unlock many other online accounts - and potentially cause a bigger problem for you.
So always use unique passwords.
Furthermore, computer users should ensure they don't use dictionary words as passwords as it is relatively easy for hackers to figure these out using electronic dictionaries that simply try out every word until they get the right one.
If video doesn't float your boat, here's a podcast where we talk around the issues of password security:
Even if you're not a Codemasters customer, it still makes sense to ensure that all of your passwords are strong and unique.Follow @gcluley
Hat tip: Thanks to Naked Security reader Paul for sending us a tip about the Codemasters breach