Everybody remembers Neopets, right? The company that lets you create and take care of digital animals has been a mainstay of teen fun since it launched in 1999. Well, I hate to break it to you, but a hacker recently spat on your childhood nostalgia by breaking into the company’s database and stealing data on millions of customers.
A cybercriminal who goes by the moniker “TarTarX” has claimed responsibility for the hack, Bleeping Computer originally reported. On a dark web forum, the criminal claimed that they had pilfered data on 69 million Neopet users. Portions of the haul were shared with Bleeping Computer and appear to reveal a wealth of personal information, including usernames, real names, birthdays, zip codes, email addresses...you get the picture.
TarTarX is now attempting to sell the stolen trove for four bitcoin (approximately $94,000). The trove could contain sensitive personal information on minors, though Neopets has said the average age of its 100,000 daily active users is now 18-34. The site requires players to be 13 or older to register.
Neopets has since confirmed that they were hacked. In statements posted to their Twitter and Instagram accounts, the company admitted that it “recently became aware that customer data may have been stolen” and that it “appears that email addresses and passwords used to access Neopets accounts may have been affected.” The company added:
“We strongly recommend that you change your Neopets password. If you use the same password on other websites, we recommend that you also change those passwords. As our investigation continues, we will update you as appropriate.”
Neopets has remained amazingly popular since the company first launched over two decades ago. The company claims that many of its daily active users have played continuously for more than 15 years. In September, the company announced that it had gone Web3, and would be launching an NFT collection and joining “the Metaverse.” For a company that sells the illusion of owning a real animal, migrating to the Metaverse actually makes a decent amount of sense—so I can’t knock them too much for that.