A document containing account information, including that belonging to members of Electronic Arts' Origin service, spread online yesterday.
According to CSO Online, the leak came in the form of a Pastebin upload that has since been removed, and contained private, personal details such as email addresses and passwords.
Hundreds of accounts beginning with the letters A through F were included in the post. Certain EA titles associated with gamer profiles were also named, including Mass Effect and Star Wars Battlefront.
Sam Houston, a former community manager for Origin now working with Bugcrowd, suggested that the data dump is the result of an intentional hack into EA's databases. "Gamers are often targeted with attacks," he said in a statement, "and with EA's accounts tied into all of their games and their Origin e-commerce site, a gamer's EA account can be very valuable.
"Gaining access to an EA account would enable a hacker to play any of their PC games purchased through Origin, and could potentially be used to play on a gamer's account on a game connected via the EA account system. Those accounts are valuable not only for financial gain, but also for harassing or impersonating users."
Houston added that "Over the years, EA has been the target of a lot of ire from various gaming groups, so this could be a response to a particular issue that people are upset about."
John Reseburg, EA's senior director of corporate communications, denied Houston's claims in an email to Polygon. "At this point, we have no indication that this list was obtained through an intrusion of our account databases," according to the statement.
An explanation as to how the information ended up as part of the Pastebin file, if not the result of a breach, was not provided when asked.
Only a small number of the Origin accounts included on the list were found to be active, he added, and EA has taken action to secure these. "In an abundance of caution, we're taking steps to secure any account that has an EA user ID that matches the usernames on this list."
Reseburg went on to say that EA "[encourages] all players to safeguard their account credentials and use unique usernames and passwords on all online accounts."