Hackers get hooks into Habbo


Habbo, a social networking service once known as Habbo Hotel, has been hit by a phishing attack.

The development comes not long after Habbo Hotel, owned by Sulake Corporation, was raided by cyber criminals for virtual items, such as furniture.

This week Imperva researchers discovered a hacker bragging about having acquired user credentials and personal details from the social networking site, which is aimed at teenagers.

Details held by the hacker, who claimed to be an 18-year-old from Eindhoven in the Netherlands, included user passwords and parents' addresses, as many of Habbo's users are minors.

The cyber criminal had been posting about her phishing success on T35.com, a free hosting provider that security specialist Imperva said was popular among hackers.

"In this particular instance the extent of the damage is something that only the hacker would be able to identify," Rob Rachwald, director of security strategy Imperva, told IT PRO

One person who gained access to the login details discovered that they were the same for one user's parent's ebay account. In this case the hacker decided not to use the discovery for their own gain as they claimed not to want to do anything so evidently illegal.

"With the IDs you can do lots of different things and this is where things get a little bit dark because you don't know what was done with those IDs," Rachwald said.

He noted that by targeting teenagers through Habbo, hackers had an easier target and there was still monetary value at the end of it.

"This is probably the beginning of a trend as social networking becomes much more prevalent and as social networking becomes monetised," Rachwald added.

"The biggest user of social networking tends to be younger people and they tend to be the most gullible as well. I think we're looking at something that over the next couple of years will unfortunately occur more frequently."

He recommended parents educate their offspring about the dangers that can appear online.

At the time of publication, Sulake had not responded to IT PRO's request for comment on the hack.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.