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‘Unauthorised access to some Nintendo Accounts’ more widespread than it first appeared

In a post on its support site, Nintendo admits that “unauthorised access to some Nintendo Accounts” has occurred, but insists that no Nintendo servers or databases were breached.

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Nintendo Accounts breach 2020
Nintendo

In a post on its support site, Nintendo admits that “unauthorised access to some Nintendo Accounts” has occurred, but insists that no Nintendo servers or databases were breached.

The first rule of an information security breach is that you tell everyone who has been impacted as early as possible.

And this isn’t some “first rule of Fight Club” stuff. These are the rules laid out by numerous regulatory bodies around the world. But for the sake of being specific to the jurisdiction in which Thumbsticks finds itself, we’ll refer to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) and the ICO (that’s the Information Commissioner’s Office, the regulatory body that polices such things) and their guidelines on reporting breaches.

  • The GDPR introduces a duty on all organisations to report certain types of personal data breach to the relevant supervisory authority. You must do this within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach, where feasible.
  • If the breach is likely to result in a high risk of adversely affecting individuals’ rights and freedoms, you must also inform those individuals without undue delay.

So in a circumstance where user accounts or data have been breached, then the organisation must report it to the ICO within 72 hours, and must report it to individuals potentially impacted – in this case, “rights and freedoms” relates to personal data and the potential for financial loss – without any “undue delay”.

Given that people have (anecdotally) been complaining of breaches to their Nintendo Accounts for a couple of weeks now, including unauthorised purchases that haven’t been refunded, that’s not looking very good for Nintendo. The developer and publisher has only today (April 24, 2020) issued a statement about the “unauthorised access to some Nintendo Accounts,” which reads as follows:

We would like to provide an update on the recent incidents of unauthorised access to some Nintendo Accounts.

While we continue to investigate, we would like to reassure users that there is currently no evidence pointing towards a breach of Nintendo’s databases, servers or services. As one action in our ongoing investigation, we are discontinuing the ability to use a Nintendo Network ID to sign in to a Nintendo Account. All other options to sign-in to a Nintendo Account remain available.

As a further precaution, we will soon contact users about resetting passwords for Nintendo Network IDs and Nintendo Accounts that we have reason to believe were accessed without authorisation.

In addition, we also continue to strongly encourage users to enable two-step verification for their Nintendo Account as instructed here: How to set-up two-step verification for a Nintendo Account.

If any users become aware of unauthorised activity, we encourage them to take the steps outlined in the article about the Nintendo Account recovery process.

During the investigation, in order to deter further attempts of unauthorised sign-ins, we will not reveal more information about the methods employed to gain unauthorised access.

We apologise for the inconvenience and concerns caused to our customers, and we will continue working hard to safeguard the security of our users’ data.

The good news is, there doesn’t appear to have been a breach of any of Nintendo’s core systems – including databases and servers containing personal and financial details – which, you may recall, is what happened to Sony’s PlayStation Network in 2011.

The bad news is that, while Nintendo hasn’t made details of the exploit public for obvious reasons, the attack vector will have been fairly large. This is because the unauthorised logins made use of the legacy Nintendo Network ID associated with users accounts, and basically everyone who signed up for a Nintendo account on the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS will have one.

To mitigate the vulnerability, Nintendo is disabling the ability to login with a Nintendo Network ID. But the real solution, the one that all users should do, is to enable multi-factor authentication (which Nintendo refers to as two-step verification) on their Nintendo account. This means you’ll have to use a code generated from your smartphone (using the Google Authenticator app) to login. This means your password on its own is effectively worthless, unless you also have in your possession the linked mobile phone to generate the authorisation codes.

Real talk, folks: you should enable multi-factor authentication on any service that supports it. If you wait until a breach comes around, like this one, you might find it’s already too late.

Update: June 9, 2020

In a post on its Japanese support site – originally reported by IGN – Nintendo has confirmed that another 140,000 accounts have been compromised. That’s an additional 140,000 accounts on top of the original 160,000 accounts, making it a total of 300,000 accounts.

The Nintendo article states that the following information might have been visible to an attacker: “Nickname, date of birth, country/region, email address”. It’s also quick to remind users that the breach represents less than 1% of Nintendo Accounts worldwide.

This is a timely reminder that you should always use multi-factor authentication on your accounts. Even if a service provider says that a vulnerability has been fixed. Especially if a service provider says that a vulnerability has been fixed.


For all the important video game news stories (and information security advice, when appropriate) follow Thumbsticks on FacebookGoogle NewsTwitter, and Flipboard.

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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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New PlayStation 4 releases (September 21-25, 2020)

Mafia: Definitive Edition tops next week’s list of new PlayStation 4 releases.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Mafia: Definitive Edition tops next week’s list of new PlayStation 4 releases.

Hangar 13’s ground-up remake of Mafia is this week’s PlayStation 4 pick. The original game is not an outright classic, but it’s certainly bold and was forward-thinking in its day. The remake includes new vehicles, improved visuals and audio, and a larger city of Lost Heaven to explore.

Another highlight is the console port of Port Royale 4. Kalypso Media’s trading and strategy game depicts the 17th-century Caribbean power struggle between Spain, England, France and the Netherlands. Turn-based naval encounters are the big new feature, and each nation has a full single-player campaign to complete.

Trading is also central to Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, the new space Western sequel from Double Damage Games. Outlaw improves on its predecessor with streamlined spaceship combat, seven new radio stations, and a fun cast of bounty hunters, aliens, and intergalactic ne’er-do-wells.

Other new PS4 releases include Tennis World Tour 2, Unrailed!, and Going Under. We’ll update this article throughout the week with news of any late additions. Here’s the full lineup of new PS4 games confirmed so far.

New PlayStation4 releases: September 21-25, 2020

Monday, September 21, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

  • 3 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
  • Rebel Galaxy Outlaw
  • Tennis World Tour 2

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

  • CastleStorm II
  • Jet Set Knights – TBC
  • Unrailed!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

  • Dungreed
  • Ginga Force
  • Going Under
  • Gothic Murder: Adventure That Changes Destiny

Friday, September 25, 2020

  • Mafia: Definitive Edition
  • Port Royale 4
  • Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia

Bookmark our new releases page for weekly updates on the latest games. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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New Xbox One releases (September 21-25, 2020)

Mafia: Definitive Edition and Rebel Galaxy Outlaw headline the list of upcoming Xbox One releases.

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New Xbox One game releases
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Mafia: Definitive Edition and Rebel Galaxy Outlaw headline the list of upcoming Xbox One releases.

Xbox One owners can lead a life crime next week in the eagerly anticipated remake of 2002’s Mafia. The city of Lost Heaven has never looked better, but we’re interested to see how Hangar 13 has fleshed out the experience. The addition of motorcycles is a fun place to start.

Meanwhile, players of Rebel Galaxy Outlaw can live their lives on the outer rim of law and order. This sequel from Double Damage builds upon the strong foundations of the first game with improved dogfights, an engaging story, and an even better soundtrack. If you find Elite Dangerous too overwhelming, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw is an accessible blend of arcade and simulation sci-fi that scratches the same intergalactic itch.

Other new Xbox One release highlights include Port Royale 4, procedurally generated track laying game Unrailed!, and satirical dungeon crawler, Going Under. Halo ODST‘s Firefight mode is also coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Tuesday.

Each new game can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store or the Microsoft web store. We’ll update this post throughout the week with any late additions to the lineup.

New Xbox One releases: September 21-25, 2020

Monday, September 21, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

  • Halo ODST: Firefight (The Master Chief Collection)
  • Rebel Galaxy Outlaw
  • Tennis World Tour 2

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

  • CastleStorm II
  • The Drone Racing League Simulator
  • Jet Set Knights
  • Unrailed!
  • Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure

Thursday, September 24, 2020

  • Going Under
  • Little Big Workshop
  • Tears of Avia

Friday, September 25, 2020

  • Mafia: Definitive Edition
  • Nexomon: Extinction
  • Port Royale 4
  • Sentinels of Freedom
  • Shotgun Farmers
  • Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia

Swoop by the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Hello Games announces No Man’s Sky Origins update

No Man’s Sky is the gift that keeps on giving, from a team we don’t even deserve.

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No Mans Sky book covers
Hello Games / Thumbsticks

No Man’s Sky is the gift that keeps on giving, from a team we don’t even deserve.

Did you know that the procedurally-generated aesthetic for No Man’s Sky was based on pulpy, 70s science fiction novel covers?

(We did know, but it’s still fun to watch the video in the post linked above. For all of its “bazillion of procedurally generated planets” pitch, the aesthetic and the atmosphere of No Man’s Sky are still some of its biggest selling points, especially with the very scary Desolation update from a couple of months ago.)

As the free content updates kept coming for No Man’s Sky, each with its own science fiction cover, it built up a bigger picture: a “shelf” of those pulpy sci-fi book covers.

But when Sean Murray, of Hello Games, tweeted a picture of all the covers together following the Desolation update, it did not escape people’s notice that there was only “room” for one more cover left on that artificial bookshelf of pulpy book covers:

And with the No Man’s Sky Origins update set to be revealed next week, people have been worried that might be the last update we see for the game. The final space on the bookshelf will be filled, as it were.

But according to the blog post announcing Origins, “This update will be another small step in a longer journey.”

Perhaps Hello Games isn’t quite done with No Man’s Sky just yet.


Follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for daily video game news updates.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Play three cool games for free on Xbox One this weekend

This week’s lineup of Xbox One Free Play Days titles takes players to the high seas, a world destroyed by war, and a creature-infested Louisiana.

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Sea of Thieves - Xbox One

This week’s lineup of Xbox One Free Play Days titles takes players to the high seas, a world destroyed by war, and, erm, Louisiana.

Shiver me timbers, Sea of Thieves is free to play on Xbox One this weekend. Rare’s online pirate adventure was somewhat cooly received on release, but who’s cool now? A treasure chest of content and gameplay updates has helped build a thriving community of shipmates, most of whom are welcoming to new deckhands. Nonetheless, take care, there’s always someone waiting to steal a Bilge Rat Doubloon or two when your back is turned.

Players should also keep their wits about them in Hunt: Showdown, the popular PvP first-person hunting game from Crytek. Up to 12 players must venture into the dangerous swamps of Louisiana. Your task is to retrieve a bounty from a vicious creature, but once you have that bounty, friends become foes, and you become the target. Hi-jinks ensue.

Finally, Warhammer: Chaosbane is moderately fun hack-and-slash action RPG from EKO Software. If the phrase “fighting battles in the sewers of Nuln” gets your blood pumping, this game is probably for you.

All three games are playable for free until midnight on Sunday for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. As always, any earned achievements and save states carry over into purchased copies of each game. Here’s the lowdown on this week’s related digital discounts.

Xbox One Free Play Days Discounts

Hunt: Showdown

  • Standard Edition – 60% off
  • Master Hunter Edition – 50% off

Warhammer: Chaosbane

  • Standard Edition – 65% off
  • Deluxe Edition – 65% off
  • Magnus Edition – 70% off

Sea of Thieves

  • Standard Edition – 50% off

Bookmark our sales and freebies pages for the latest video game promotions. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for daily gaming news updates

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Surprise! The Long Dark is out now on Nintendo Switch

Another Nintendo Direct, another raft of surprise Nintendo Switch releases. One of today’s picks is The Long Dark.

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The Long Dark Nintendo Switch
Hinterland / Thumbsticks

Another Nintendo Direct, another raft of surprise Nintendo Switch releases. One of today’s picks is The Long Dark.

Nintendo has developed a habit of doing the old “and it’s available on the eShop right now” trick during its Direct presentations. In a summer of interminable video press conferences and wall-to-wall Geoff Keighley and 15-minute trailers for games we won’t see again for a couple of years, it’s a lovely little trait, an instant dopamine hit.

And Nintendo used it again, a few times, during its September 2020 Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase. There were games we knew were coming at some point, like Hades, and games we didn’t, like Ori and the Will of the Wisps. But they were still a nice surprise.

Then there was The Long Dark, the brilliant, wintry survival epic from Hinterland Games. That, too, got a surprise launch on the Nintendo Switch today. This is a lovely turn of events for a couple of reasons:

  1. The Long Dark is really rather good.
  2. The last we heard, the game’s performance on Switch was quite poor, so it’s excellent that it’s now in a state good enough to release.

There’s also an excellent launch trailer to mark the occasion:

Meanwhile, Hinterland head honcho and The Long Dark director Raph van Lierop took to Twitter to address some players’ confusion that, uncharacteristically, the trailer wasn’t particularly bleak.

We’re looking to heading out into the wilderness and playing The Long Dark later this year. You know, when it gets really cold.


Check out everything else announced in this month’s Nintendo Direct, or follow Thumbsticks on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

Continue Reading