The German website Heise is reporting that 1,800 accounts of the popular online video game Minecraft were hacked, however, as a spokesman for Mojang, the developer of Minecraft was quick to point out, it was not the computers and data of Mojang that were hacked and compromised, but rather, individual accounts of Minecraft players who had unwittingly turned over their passwords and user names to hackers who had tricked the account holders into revealing their user names and passwords through the technique called phishing by which you receive a legitimate appearing communication by email or text message that requests personal information, in this case the user name and passwords for the victim’s Minecraft account. Phishing is a very simple, common and effective way that hackers gain credentials to not only individual accounts, but also to the data banks of entire companies by tricking people into providing passwords. The Target hacking started with a phishing email to an employee of the HVAC company that worked with Target.
Always be skeptical of any email or text message that requests that you provide your password or text message. Unless you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate, you should always confirm that the request is legitimate before providing such information. In addition, in order to protect yourself from identity theft, you should use a different password for all of your online accounts. By doing this, you protect your other accounts in the event that one of your accounts is hacked. You can find some tips on how to choose complex, but easy to remember passwords in my book “Identity Theft Alert.”