If you're one of the millions of avid players of the online MMORPG World of Warcraft, then you may have been surprised to find the populations of entire cities killed off this weekend.
According to the game's developers, Blizzard, hackers managed to exploit a vulnerability in the game, resulting in the deaths of many player and non-player characters.
In a forum posting, the company said it was taking the attack "very seriously":
Earlier today, certain realms were affected by an in-game exploit, resulting in the deaths of player characters and non-player characters in some of the major cities. This exploit has already been hotfixed, so it should not be repeatable. It's safe to continue playing and adventuring in major cities and elsewhere in Azeroth.
As with any exploit, we are taking this disruptive action very seriously and conducting a thorough investigation. If you have information relating to this incident, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We apologize for the inconvenience some of you experienced as a result of this and appreciate your understanding.
The hackers' attack saw every character in cities such as Stormwind, Orgrimmar and Tarren Mill killed off, leaving piles of skeletons cluttering the streets and buildings. According to the Blizzard, the vulnerability exploited by the hackers has now been patched.
Blizzard is likely to ban the culprits if they manage to identify them, and could possibly take legal action if they can prove that financial losses occurred as a result of the hack.Follow @gcluley