Twitch streaming service hack reveals payment details of top users

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The live streaming video service Twitch was hacked in a breach that exposed the financial information of some of the people who use it.

The company is a live video service where people can share streams of the video games they play, usually with tips and comments. The site has exploded in popularity along with the rise of esports where spectators watch professional players play. Founded in 2011, it was acquired by Amazon in 2014 for nearly US $ 1 billion.

At any given time, over 2.5 million people are watching videos on Twitch. Last year, they collectively watched a trillion minutes of video.

An anonymous poster on the 4chan messaging forum on Tuesday night posted a massive amount of data which the poster claimed was source code for Twitch, a data dump containing detailed information about the payment details of its players and streamers. the most watched.

According to video game news site Video Games Chronicle, which first reported the violation, the user posted the information to “foster further disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.” because “their community is a disgusting toxic cesspool”.

On Wednesday morning, Twitch confirmed that it had been hacked.

“A breach has taken place,” the company tweeted. “Our teams are urgently working to understand the extent of this.”

The company urges anyone with a Twitch account to change their password.

A Twitch screen appears on a phone. The hackers have released information obtained during a hack into the Twitch live streaming service that appears to show that the entire network has been compromised. (Gabby Jones / Bloomberg)

Millions of dollars

Data leaks reveal top streamers are making tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars a month from the service. Screenshot suggest the highest-paid Twitcher is Canadian Félix Lengyel, who, under the pseudonym xQcOW, has earned $ 8.4 million since 2019, including over $ 750,000 last month alone.

Lengyel turned down a CBC News interview request, but another Canadian, who goes by the pseudonym nl_kripp, did. Kripp – real name Octavian Morosan – lives in Toronto. Screenshots suggest he made $ 43,077 from his Twitch stream last month.

Although he said he couldn’t confirm this number specifically, he said it was a “pretty decent guess” of what Twitch is bringing. Although this figure does not include other sources of income for elite gamers, including YouTube, and referrals.

“In some cases [Twitch is] most of what they earn, in some cases it doesn’t, ”he said. The best streamers sell subscriptions between $ 5 and $ 25 per month, and some users have over 30,000 subscribers, Morosan said.

“You can make a lot of money in this area.”

Morosan said he heard about the leak when he finished his daily feed around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning.

“At this point, I don’t know more than the public knows,” he said. “I’m sure things will come out the way it turned out… I hope at the end of the day things will get back to normal.”

Victims of data breaches often feel exposed when notified of an attack, but as someone who broadcasts every detail of their life to the world, for up to 15 hours a day, seven days a week, Morosan said that he doesn’t feel too exposed.

“This is not the line of work where you can expect all levels of privacy,” he said.



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