NEWSEA, a rival site to TSR has been hacked and the data of 3,322 of its users has been posted online.
CHANGE ALL OF YOUR PASSWORDS NOW.
Unlike the last information leak, where 614 people had their names email address shared on the grapevine, this new leak is far more dangerous, the online list not only contains usernames and emails, but your PASSWORDS and your country of origin and and some full names.
I understand there are rumors already in the community, and in some cases these rumors are not being believed, I can confirm that I have seen the full list online and I can not stress how urgent it is that you take action to change your passwords. The information is listed in this format: id - username - email – password - firstname - lastname - country
On May the 10th, a few members of staff were approached, and on May 11th were given subscriber passes to Newsea. The idea was to download and share Newsea subscriber only files through torrent sites in an attempt to damage the Newsea business and limit their monetary income. I was under the impression that TSR had bought the subscriptions. Shortly after, I heard that Newsea was willing to sell the site to TSR and return as FA. Talks broke down apparently when Tom accused Newsea of being greedy and wanting far too much for the site, I have no idea what Newsea asked for or what he was offered, but whatever it was, Tom said it was too much but he was certain Newsea would be back with ‘his tail between his legs’. Yesterday I was told that every member of Newsea has had their username, email name and password leaked online. Shortly before this news went public, TSR posted a cryptic and confusing message on their front page.
“TSR members are being targeted in the community by people trying to cause trouble. Please remember that nobody from TSR will ever ask for your password for the site. If anyone approaches you on Facebook, Forums or Chat, claiming to be from TSR and asking you for your login details, do not give them out!”
You may wonder what is so cryptic and confusing about this message? For a start the first paragraph is the focus of events that have never happened, there have been no reports of anyone being approached on facebook, forums or chat by anyone asking for login details. This part of the statement is clearly just an opener and just an excuse to make an announcement so that they can get to the second paragraph..
Passwords stored at TSR are encrypted. ( No they are not. ) Staff, Admins and Mods do not have access to your passwords used, ( some staff and all admins do. )
“but not all sites work that way.” Now we are getting to the point of this announcement .. Sites like Newsea? How perceptive of TSR to know that a rival site was about to have it’s entire unencrypted data leaked online. How thoughtful of TSR to let us know how *cough* secure their site is and how unsecure rival sites may be. We could have done without the demonstration.
This has not just been a hack, it has started with blackmail. With this being posted on or around April 27th
Followed by attempts from TSR to damage the business through sharing.
When Newsea refused to sell and rejoin TSR for what was probably a very low offer, the information gathered from the site was released to the public. ( ..after the careful removal of TSR FA accounts! ) You do not need me to explain what this means to the 3,322 people who have had their emails and passwords displayed for all to see, or the damage to the reputation of Newseas site.
Still not convinced that TSR are liars? TSR have even gone as far as writing words in Newsea’s TSR blog, that were not written by Newsea and replying to messages that were not replied to by Newsea -In fact Newsea have NO access to their own TSR blog. What kind of respectable site would impersonate an artist through blog posts and messages while locking them out of their own account. That in itself is illegal.
Newsea says: “Please do not give the newsea of TSR site message! because the account has been modified by the TSR, we do not have the permissions of that account, all speak of the newsea of TSR site not what we say!”
Hacking. Blackmail. Impersonation. This is how low TSR will go to destroy the competition. For those who have very little sympathy for a paysite like Newsea, remember that paysites are not the only rival to TSR.
May 22, 2012
I have just received news that TSR are targeting Tumblr accounts. 3 sites, rawsimguts ,* ulnargroove. and another un-named site have been hit. It is unusual for 3 Tumblr sites to be hit together in this way. At this stage I do not know if TSR are using passwords from their database or if they have found a vulnerability in tumblr. Please, if you have a Tumblr account, back it up NOW, and never use a password you have ever used on TSR.
I am awaiting news from the site owner ( via ‘Name’ ) to see if her password was the same as on TSR, if she had any takedown notices, if she had any links, downloads or content that may have upset them or any reason at all she may have been targeted. I have no words to express how sorry I am to hear about these sites being attacked or how angered I am at the vulgar use of extreme pornography in a place where children can visit. I will update if/as soon as I find out anything more..
Many thanks to ‘Name’ for the warning, hopefully this early warning may save some sites from attack.
*Update. The rawsimguts hack was unconnected with the other Tumblr hacks, She was hacked by her boyfriends brother. However Tumblr seems to still be very much in the target sights with reports that 2 more Tumblr blogs were attacked in connection with the recent LivingSims hack. One had their password changed and the other, belonging to LivingSims, was deleted completely.
Update on Ulnargroove’s hack.
Here is a message from Ulnargroove..
Many thanks to Ulnargroove and ‘Name’
You may think that reporting problems such as this to EA has never been of any benefit, that perhaps it is a waste of your time and that EA have done nothing. Think again. Since TSR adopted a ‘Mafia’ attitude and EA have been hearing about it in many corners, a whole lot has changed already. You would have to be blind not to notice that the glowing support EA once had for TSR has dwindled to nothing. When was the last time TSR had an exclusive on a new exp or stuff pack? ( Not counting the Medieval ‘exclusive’ Steve had to scan from PC Format magazine! ) Hell, EA did not even trust them to preview KP sweet treats! When were they last interviewed by EA? When was the last time someone… anyone? from EA appeared in their forums …..A long time ago.
At the end of the day EA are a business, and yes it makes great business sense to keep on good terms with ‘the largest site in the sims community’. EA may be slow on the uptake, but even they can see now that TSR is only the ‘largest’ because they have been open for 12 years. ( not the longest, as TSR claim, but certainly a long time .) A vast percentage of all their members did not join TSR as it is today, they joined the free community site that it was in 1999, before it was sold off as a money spinning business to the Isakssons. None of the members amassed throughout the years can delete their own accounts or uploads. So that is 12 years of joining with 0 people allowed to leave, you do the math. If they were a regular cult they would need their own country by now. TSR masks itself as a happy place, no negative comments are allowed and until recently candy sweet good comments were rewarded with free subscription days. ( Kudos) Good artists appeared to be dumping their own sites just for the pleasure of working for the popular TSR, and the padded download stats look great. No wonder EA believed the hype. It was only after the dirty dealings and lies came to light that EA have finally distanced themselves from the monster they created. Many of these incidents only came to light because you, the community decided to tell them.
What EA thought was a good business move in ‘turning a blind eye’ to the EULA ( for what seemed like the good of the community at the time ) ended up crushing a large proportion of the true fan community. The free pass that TSR thinks they have has gone right to their heads. Appearing as the largest sims site is not good enough anymore, they want to be the only sims site. This, thankfully, will never happen but while a money crazed madman believes this is possible, many fan sites are still closing due to the hackings, false file or site TOU reports, virus infections or buy outs. Yes, the community has survived and it will continue to, but think how much bigger and better the community would have been now if TSR had not attacked/targeted so many ‘rival’ websites, and continue to do so. This has a direct effect on EA/The Sims franchise. How many of these sites that TSR forced to close, the people TSR has hunted and harassed, the creators forced to quit and the children they exposed to goatse porn just for the shock value have given up on the game completely? CC and the community play a big part in the enjoyment of the game for many, and how many times do you read someone saying that the community is not the same and not fun anymore, reasons usually cited is because their friends have left, favorite sites/forums are gone, their own sites have been attacked or they are being bullied or dictated to. TSR are mentioned directly in 99% of these comments and not in a good way.
The problem is that we, the community are fully aware of all this, mostly everyone has either been on the receiving end or knows someone who has. EA are only aware of what we tell them. How else can they find out? Most forums who speak about this do it in the members only sections for fear of TSR reprisals, Websites are afraid of becoming targets for hackings so they say nothing, those that do usually get the content removed via TOU reports/hacks. Not many post in the EA forums for fear of being ridiculed by TSR trolls. Websites are bullied for providing links to information sources such as this blog, the phorum or PMBD. TSR FA’s ever so sweetly join popular forums, this discourages any negative TSR posts from appearing. ( TSR refers to them as TSR ambassadors. ) With so much dust being swept under the carpet, you can see why EA may find it difficult to understand why TSR are so bad for the community, especially when TSR tell them again and again that anyone speaking against TSR are ‘pirates’ who pirate EA content, that anyone speaking against TSR are also against EA.
This is where You can help. If you are one of the many unlucky people attacked by TSR, whether it is through hacking, TOU/TOS reports, take down notices, nasty messages/emails, demands for links or removal of links, lost money on a subscription, leaked private details or any instance where TSR have directly ruined or spoiled your enjoyment of the game and the community you need to tell EA about it. Be sure to show them screencaps of messages, forward emails of demands and threats, forward take down reports. Let them know how this affects you and your enjoyment of the game you paid for. ( Yes this will take a little of your time, but I am sure rebuilding your website, finding new hosts or begging Mediafire to reinstate your own content took longer. ) If you are too afraid, downhearted or TSR has made it impossible for you to make or continue with your Sims fansite, LET EA KNOW! This not only effects you, it effects EA and the exposure of their product.
Do not expect direct action or even a good response from EA, your goal is to simply make them aware of the effect TSR is having on you and the community. EA already know enough to sever links with TSR, now they need to see the full extent of the damage TSR is doing. It is doubtful they will ever take legal action against TSR, they are probably still under the impression they would upset a lot of TSR’s fictional fans and ‘members’ but at the very least they should clarify the legality of a site that exists only to make money by manipulating EA made content. TSR are not fans of the game or the community, in any shape or form. You can not even truly describe them as a ‘business’ as they disregard any controls that would make a business legitimate. TSR are simply opportunists and leeches. EA’s reluctance to commit to their own EULA and say that such ‘business’ practices are wrong have created a monster and they need to stuff it back in it’s box.
What TSR fail to compute is that the EULA still stands and EA can at any time pull the plug on TSR simply by clarifying that The Sims franchise is owned by EA and it was never designed to be exploited by 3rd party sites as a business venture, it was designed for the enjoyment of paying EA customers and should not be the subject of turf wars and the fallout associated with the criminal activities they use to maintain their cashflow.
Electronic Arts Inc.
209 Redwood Shores Parkway
Redwood City, CA 94065
May 21, 2012
May 2, 2012
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