According to German media reports, a list of 1800 Minecraft usernames and passwords has been published online – potentially allowing anyone to break into your account and cause mayhem in the popular chunky 3D world.
Heise reports that many of the affected accounts appear to be belong to German gamers, and that some of the login credentials have been verified to be valid.
If unauthorised users exploited the exposed email addresses and passwords they could not only log into other people’s gameworlds, but also download a full version of the game which normally sells for 19.95 Euros ($26.95 or £17.95)
Quite how criminals managed to steal the credentials for so many Minecraft users isn’t clear. Possibilities range from simple phishing attacks, keylogging malware stealing players’ details as they log into the game, or even a security breach at Minecraft itself. (Let’s hope it’s not the last one – because the game has over 100 million registered users).
And although some 1800+ usernames and passwords have been published online, there’s no guarantee that whoever gained access to them hasn’t got a whole lot more in their back pocket which they haven’t chosen to release to the rest of the world.
There is no mention of the security breach on Minecraft’s homepage, but my recommendation would be that if users have any concern that their accounts might be exposed to hackers that they should change their passwords immediately. It goes without saying that they should be particularly concerned if they are using the same password anywhere else on the web.
Even if you aren’t worried about a stranger accessing your Minecraft account, you should be aware of the dangers that once criminals know you play Minecraft and have your email address they could easily spam out attacks which use social engineering to trick you into clicking on dangerous links or open malicious attachments.
Mojang, the makers of Minecraft who were acquired by Microsoft for an eyewatering $2.5 billion last November, has published advice on how players can choose a more secure password here.
Of course, there is nothing they can do to ensure that you are not using the same password elsewhere on the net – there are some things you need to manage for yourself if you value your privacy and security online.