The Robins Kaplan Privacy Pulse | Twitch Data Hack Signals Activist Hacking Can Have Significant Consequences; More to Come?

October 12, 2021

Twitch, the massive game streaming platform and Amazon subsidiary, was the recent victim of a major data hack in which more than 100 GB of internal confidential data was posted online by an anonymous source on the messaging board 4Chan. The data shows the detailed earnings of Twitch’s top streamers from 2019 to 2021 along with important components of Twitch’s purported source code. Interestingly, the anonymous source did not release any private user information, such as passwords or payment information, and cited as its motivation a desire to “foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.” The hack was further labeled as part one, indicating that there may be more information to come.      

Twitch has responded to the hack by citing an error in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) server configuration that allowed the hacker to access the data using a malicious third-party app. Twitch is, understandably, still trying to understand the extent of the security breach and how much data the hacker(s) took.

This latest hack only goes to show the increasing prevalence of data hacks with companies in today’s ever-increasingly technical world. It also illustrates how hackers with potential non-financial and activist motivations can have real impacts on a company’s competitive position in the market, such as releasing highly confidential source code where competitors can analyze it.

SourcesSlashgear, BBC, WSJ