Twitch confirms massive data breach has happened, is still figuring out why

(Image credit: PC Gamer)

A massive data breach at Twitch has seen the site's source code, several unnanounced projects, and the incomes of contributors leaked, among much more. There are some surprising revelations: such as, for example, that Twitch is making a Steam competitor. But the fallout from such a massive and serious leak of information will not settle for some time.

In its first public statement since the incident, Twitch says: "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."

The initial leak, which claims to only be part one of two, consisted of 128GB of data. The first things picked out were of course the earnings of high-profile streamers and the more exciting-looking unannounced projects. But now the question 'how safe is your data with Twitch' has been answered in the worst possible way.

Twitch continues to enjoy enormous success, but this year was already a bad one for the streaming giant's reputation. A new phenomenon of hate raids began in early 2021 and the platform was flat-footed in response, leading to the #ADayoffTwitch protest and a significant-albeit-temporary drop in viewership. (Twitch subsequently launched legal action against two of the ringleaders behind these raids). Unrelatedly Dr Disrespect, formerly one of the platform's biggest stars, is now "suing the fuck out of" Twitch.

All of those problems plus today's leak makes 2021 an annus miserabilis for Twitch, and we've still got four months to go. The security of this platform, its basic ability to protect its users, has been utterly exposed. The source code is out there. Who knows what else remains to come out. Twitch has to answer some of the biggest questions in the platform's existence and, right now, doesn't know where to start.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."