A hacker has leaked a list of twitch’s best-paid streamers since 2019.
Twitch, the popular, Amazon-owned streaming platform, is contending with an unprecedented hack of its website. On the morning of Oct. 6, an anonymous 4chan user published a 235 GB torrent file that included Twitch’s source code, creator earnings details, and other confidential information.
The leak does not appear to include personal information on Twitch streamers and viewers, like user IDs or passwords; a lot of what was made public is centred on internal Twitch documentation. Twitch says that it’s still working to understand the scale of what was stolen and that the company will update streamers and Twitch community members with more information when it’s available. Here’s what we know right now.
What was stolen in the twitch breach?
The leaked information shared on Wednesday includes three years’ worth of creator earnings payouts, going back to 2019. This data has been collated online and encompasses the top 10,000 streamers. A number of streamers, on social media and elsewhere, have confirmed that these numbers match their internal Twitch analytics, but some say their numbers are off.
Hackers also say they’ve got access to “commit history going back to [Twitch.tv’s] early beginnings,” which means that there could be saved “snapshots” of each iteration of Twitch as far back as its creation. Source code, too, for Twitch’s mobile, desktop, and console clients has also been made available online, as has “code related to proprietary SDKs and internal AWS services used by Twitch,” according to The Verge. Data for other Twitch properties, like video game database IGBD and mod management system CurseForge, has also been leaked alongside security tools and files related to a reportedly in-development Steam competitor codenamed Vapor, designed by Amazon Game Studios.
According to Vice, information shared in the leak is not particularly “sensitive,” at least to Twitch; the information shared is more harmful to streamers themselves.
As reported by The Verge, the information published Wednesday is labelled “part one,” which implies that more hacked data may be available. Twitch has not yet commented specifically on the data that’s been stolen.
So should you change your password?
The short answer here is yes, you should change your password, even if there is little evidence suggesting that personal Twitch account information — aside from creator earnings — has been compromised. It’s possible that the Twitch hacker has more information, however, that could include personal information, including passwords and other sensitive data.
Twitch has not addressed user safety, though some Twitch users logging into the streaming platform Wednesday have reported being asked to change their passwords. It’s also generally recommended to enable two-factor authentication if you haven’t already — this step will make it harder for others to gain unauthorized access to your account, thus protecting any information there.
Why do people care about creator earnings?
Twitch streamers who earn money from the platform are largely secretive about how much they make, and that’s because anyone who has signed a contract with Twitch is reportedly barred from sharing that data.
It’s no secret that Twitch streamers make money through a variety of avenues, including subscriptions, donations, ads, and exclusive contracts. Curious parties can just add up the number of subscribers a person has to ballpark a streamer’s revenue in that area: Subscriptions start at $4.99 (KSh 500) and revenue is split with Twitch. Most streamers get a 50% cut of the subscription price, but Twitch does allow some streamers to negotiate different splits.
But this list of creator earnings is significant because this type of data has never been uncovered before at this scale. Among other things, the information here shows a major disparity between Twitch’s top streamers and the tens of thousands of streamers who struggle to find an audience. The breach has also sparked conversations about Twitch’s donation structure, which encourages viewers to “tip” streamers beyond their monthly subscription.
To say there is a rift between Twitch streamers and the company is an understatement. Streamers are frustrated by a perceived lack of responsibility and security from the company — particularly its lack of protections for marginalized streamers — and Wednesday’s hack only adds to that existing frustration.