Hello Kitty hack: 3.3m users impacted as hackers breach online community

SanrioTown.com, the online community for Hello Kitty customers and fans has been hacked, leading to 3.3m user accounts including first names, last names, date of births, genders, email addresses and countries of origin falling in the hands of hackers.

The breach also impacted passwords which, despite being encrypted with hashes, were uncovered by hackers who knew the technique used by SanrioTown to encrypt such information. The breach comes not long after digital toymaker VTech's sites were hacked and over 5m user accounts including those of 20,000 children fell into the hands of hackers.

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Hackers have been known to use connected toys and recording devices within toys to get hold of private communication and pictures of users, but the recent hacks of company websites suggests that their ulterior motives are much worse. Most of the information within compromised user accounts are sold in the dark web for a price.

Apart from SanrioTown.com, other websites belonging to Hello Kitty like hellokitty.com, hellokitty.com.sg, hellokitty.com.my, hellokitty.in.th, and mymelody.com along with two backup servers were also hacked.

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The news comes after the government has been making attempts at undermining website encryption to ensure that its agencies and investigators can access email, chats and other forms of communication to ward off future terrorist attacks.

Even though encryption is vital to safeguard confidential data, how the encryption is usually done is of prime importance. The fact that hackers were able to predict Hello Kitty's encryption methods to their advantage suggests that encryption systems and tools need to be a lot stronger and unpredictable to prevent future attacks.

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