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Sunday, December 5, 2021

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Students react to Twitch data breach


data breach

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Twitch faced a data breach in early October, which led to the unauthorized release of 10,000 streamers’ payouts in the last year and documents from Twitch’s source code repository.

Twitch is an American video live streaming service, owned by Amazon, that focuses on video game live streaming, including broadcasts of esports competitions.

The platform houses streamers from all around the world who engage viewers through numerous categories like Just Chatting, Music, Talk Shows/Podcasts and popular games such as Grand Theft Auto V, Minecraft and Fortnite.

After a thorough investigation Twitch released a recent statement explaining the breach.

According to the company, the leak was caused by access issues from an unauthorized third party during a server configuration change. Twitch’s team quickly took action to secure the systems and fix the configuration issue. 

“I heard about it from a friend I play Valorant with, so I changed my password when he told me,” said Nithya Erabelli, Twitch streamer and biology sophomore. “Honestly, Twitch streamer earning did not surprise me at all.”

Nithya Erabelli is a Twitch affiliate and often streams Valorant with her friends on her channel. Erabelli said even as a Twitch affiliate she does make some money from streaming, typically around $200 every three months. 

Twitch also noted users’ passwords and credentials were not exposed nor released. Many of the login credentials, credit card numbers, ACH/bank information are hashed with bcrypt and were not accessed. However, Twitch and many content creators recommended users to enable two-factor authentication and change passwords if possible. 

Following the breach, the list of the top 100 streamers’ payouts began circulating on Twitter. Many viewers were surprised by the amount of money many streamers are paid. For example, one of the highest payouts on the list was Twitch streamer xQcOW with a total of $8,454,427.17. On the lower end of the top 100 was Twitch streamer Tubbo with a total of $1,000,504.31. 

“It didn’t surprise me that people with almost 500K viewers make that much, especially since they stream frequently and add sponsorships to that, so it makes sense,” Erabelli said. 

Many of the payouts that were released come from subscriptions, ad revenue, donations and bits.

Some large content creators took the issue in a very joking manner and even started referring to themselves and others by their numbered rank on the list. On the other hand, some were concerned their private information had been leaked.

Overall, while many large content creators around the world were affected by the data breach, UH students did not experience any major impacts other than simple changes to their passwords and credentials. 

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