Data breaches aren't uncommon these days, but that doesn't mean they aren't a big deal. This is especially the case when we're talking about a website as big as Twitch, which happened to get breached recently. A massive data breach from an anonymous 4chan user contained sensitive information about Twitch, including the site's source code as well as intel on an "unreleased Steam competitor from Amazon Game Studios."
Is the recent Twitch hack legit?
After the anonymous 4chan user posted the leaked information on the infamous imageboard website, several news outlets quickly picked up on the news to verify its legitimacy. Video Games Chronicle was the first to confirm from one of its sources that the leak was indeed true before several other websites corroborated their claims. A few hours later, Twitch published a statement on Twitter addressing the incident.
We can confirm a breach has taken place. Our teams are working with urgency to understand the extent of this. We will update the community as soon as additional information is available. Thank you for bearing with us.
— Twitch (@Twitch) October 6, 2021
The Wednesday leak appears to be one of malicious intent. The 4chan user specifically states that the intention was to "foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space." He also referred to the Twitch community as a "disgusting toxic cesspool".
What is perhaps more interesting is that the hacker suggests this is just the beginning. The hacker labeled everything revealed so far as "part out". We've already seen three years of creator payout data, among other things, so we don't exactly know what "more" this hacker can reveal. Multiple streamers have since gone on Twitter to confirm the published payout information in the leaks and how it matches with their data. Also, because of the data leak, the public now has a much better perception of how much the top channels earn in terms of dollars per month.
At the moment, it's not clear who is behind the attack and their purpose. However, we can expect this incident to have serious repercussions going forward. This is pretty much the modern equivalent of the pandora's box. It's impossible to put everything back inside once the info is already out there.
What's next for Twitch?
The Amazon-owned streaming platform remains the go-to place for live streamers and viewers. Many still consider it as a more entertaining alternative compared to Netflix. However, Twitch's recent struggles are no secret. The site has become the target of criticism for fostering hate and harassment. In particular, Twitch streamers are complaining about the company's inaction, resulting in the #DoBetterTwitch movement that culminated in a day of protest.
Even though Twitch has since responded to the movement, it appears that the anonymous poster isn't satisfied with what the management has done to address the issues.
With that said, we're just thankful that the hacker did not include user information in the published leak.