Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When Identity Theft Gets a "Second Life"

Last Wednesday computer hackers accessed unencrypted
customer information for the virtual world role playing
game known commerically as "Second Life".

When-Identity-Theft-Gets-a-Second-Life-audio post - click to play

The unauthorized database access impacted all 600,000
plus members with information within the publisher,
Linden Lab's payment database.

The unencrypted information accessed included:

  1. Names
  2. Addresses
  3. Account data

In addition to the unencrypted data, the hackers were
suspected of having accessed the encrypted payment
information. But, the encrypted credit card
stored on a separate database,
was not compromised
according to the company.

As a precautionary note, however, Linden Labs moved
swiftly and invalidated it's entire base of user
accounts by last Thursday morning. Second Life
game players were then faced with having to create
new passwords in combination with an authentication
feature which challenges the individual to answer
a series of questions correctly to gain access to
the game again.

With an estimated $7,000,000 to $8,000,000 in
"real money" which is transacted monthly within this
virtual world, the fraud potential of this identity
theft hack is on par with any large scale real world

Plus, you have several high profile organizations which
have gained early stakes in leveraging Second Life's
virtual world. Wells Fargo, American Cancer Society,
& the American Library Association are just a few
amongst an ever increasing client list.

So, our tip for today is if you are or you know someone
who is a registered user or merchant of Linden Lab's
Second Life virtual world, contact the company immediately
to seek additional information regarding resetting your


At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the virtual world imitating the real world, I guess it was inevitable that someone would attempt identity theft.

As your article pointed out, it was unfortunate to have all of us Second Life members threatened.

I'm just glad Linden Labs caught it and acted quickly enough to at least control the damage.

I guess we will find out what the hackers will actually do with the data they stole.

Thank you for this article and your many great tips for preventing identity theft.

I'm already using 3 of them since the computer break in.


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