Nearly 160,000 Nintendo accounts compromised in massive hack

Sensitive details of about 160,000 Nintendo Network ID accounts have been compromised since the beginning of April, Nintendo confirmed.

The Japan-based video game company says login ID and password information of these profiles were obtained “illegally by some means other than our service” and in response, it’s freezing the ability to log into a Nintendo account through Nintendo Network ID (NNID).

Nintendo began looking into a potential breach after several players reported suspicious logins and fraudulent transactions for digital items like Fortnite VBucks through linked PayPal accounts earlier this month.

Nintendo’s investigation revealed intruders may have accessed personal data such as nicknames, dates of birth, country of residence, and email addresses.

Plus, for users who used the same password for an NNID and Nintendo account, it’s warning that their “balance and registered credit card/PayPal may be illegally used at My Nintendo Store or Nintendo eShop.”

In addition to halting Nintendo Network ID (NNID) logins, Nintendo is reaching out to affected customers via email and resetting their passwords. It’s also recommending enabling two-factor authentication to everyone. Despite this, Nintendo is asking users who have discovered fraudulent transactions in their accounts to contact the company so it can cancel the purchases and possibly for initiating refunds.

The NNID system is a legacy platform that was mainly employed for older 3DS and Wii U devices. Until Friday, gamers had the option to link the older accounts to their new Nintendo Switch accounts.

In the last month or two, Nintendo sales have skyrocketed as people across the world scramble for ways to keep themselves entertained while sheltering at home. Nintendo’s latest Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the top-selling game of March and on top of that, has become a social media phenomenon.

Gaming hardware sales themselves are up 63% from last year with the Nintendo Switch at the pole position. At 2x year-on-year growth, it was the best-selling console ever in March, beating its own March 2017 performance record. But the company’s products have also been targeted, with price-gougers sending the Switch’s price soaring on Amazon.

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