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Rockyou fined and social media implications


Online social gaming company, Rockyou with 32 million gamers, and $129,000,000 of funding, got fined $250,000 for revealing the usernames and passwords of their online community members, and putting at risk their webmail (Gmail, Yahoo etc) accounts. Oh and they fibbed about their security, compromised by a hack that’s been around ten years, and for people who’s really immerse into gaming and even read the amd fx 6300 review for their computers, this leak could really be a problem.

If capitalism was all about inflicting dodgy products and exploiting workers, the new social capitalism is about exploiting the members. That would be us.  After all, we are Google’s, Facebook’s, Twitter’s, Rockyou’s product. The only things produced in social media sites are members (members produce the rest). So Rockyou is fined $250,000 for:

  • revealing usernames and passwords of 32 MILLION members
  • due to a TEN year old hack
  • fibbing about robustness of security
  • keeping everything in plain text, not encrypted
  • included all the other stuff they kept like your Gmail, Yahoo, etc accounts (3rd party credentials)
  • 139,000 accounts were known to be for kids under 13 (against COPPA)

$250,000  – which is a lot of money – if you are me.

If you are RockYou…

TOTAL$129M
VENTURE FUNDING TOTAL$129M
Series A, 1/07 3
First Round Capital
Lightspeed Venture Partners
Sequoia Capital
$1.5M
Series B, 3/07 4
Lightspeed Venture Partners
Partech International
Sequoia Capital
$15M
Series C, 6/08 5
Doll Capital Management
$35M
Series C, 11/08 6
SK Telecom Ventures
SoftBank Capital
$17M
Series D, 11/09 7
SoftBank Capital
$50M
Venture Round, 6/10 8
SoftBank Capital
$10M

… it’s a drop in the ocean. Who cares? It’s just our lives online that are put at risk. Our identity, our personal information, our family, our friends, our reputation, our banking details, our holiday plans, our shopping online, our credit cards, our whole lives.  Nothing important…

Ever get the feeling the courts have no clue about what’s happening out there? THE most important crime in the future will be theft of profiles, and at the moment, compromising the identities of 32 million people gets a slap on the wrist. Astonishing.

My identity can’t be stolen – I only have to Facebook, Tweet, blog or point to a YouTube video or Flickr photo to show who I am. UNLESS those accounts are hacked and stolen. And that is where the dark forces will gather in the future. We are not prepared… move over banks:  Facebook, Twitter and Rockyou thefts will be a lot more lucrative.

Crunchbase for the VC figures, Techspot for the news story.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

17 thoughts on “Rockyou fined and social media implications

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  9. Bad move, Rockyou, bad move!

    Anyway, I think the question of online security or social media theft is in the back of a lot of people’s minds, which is good since they become more aware and more cautious with their online decisions (what message to post, what details to put in their profile). But I think there’s really no assurance available that we will ever be safe, especially since the Internet is so dynamic rules can change in a very short span of time. The best step to do is to take more stringent precautions. Spread the word about the gruesome reality and effect of social media theft.

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