About 1,000 online Virginia lottery accounts were compromised earlier this month when the state agency noticed “irregular activity”

The Virginia Lottery has a new message for online customers: don’t play games with your passwords.

About 1,000 online lottery accounts were hacked earlier this month, when a state agency noticed “unusual activity” after hackers got passwords that account owners had used elsewhere. The lottery temporarily locked the accounts of people who were affected until they changed their passwords, so that sensitive information couldn’t be accessed.

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John Haggerty, a spokesman, said Thursday that no personal or financial information was taken or put at risk.

Haggerty said, “It was a great chance to teach.” “We think our security procedures worked and are still working the way they were meant to,”

On February 9, the lottery told online players that some of their accounts had been hacked because hackers had used email addresses and passwords that they had found elsewhere. Hackers could use the information to get into accounts, but they couldn’t see “personally identifiable information” like Social Security numbers or banking information, which isn’t shown.

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After seeing “unusual activity,” the agency said it would temporarily lock accounts and ask their owners to change their passwords and, in some cases, prove who they are. “If you haven’t already, we strongly suggest you finish this process with a strong password that is unique to your account,” the email said.

Internet security has become a much bigger issue at the lottery because it now has about 500,000 online accounts that are active on any given day. This is because more people are playing its games on their computers, including Instant Win games that can only be played online. People who want to play the lottery must be at least 18 years old and live in Virginia, which can be checked online.

Haggerty said that security breaches are a common problem at the lottery and at all public and private companies that do business over the internet. “This happens all the time: bad people try to get in.”

VEC tells about 17,000 Virginians that their appeals have run out of time.

About 0.2% of all online player accounts, or about 1,000 accounts, were affected. Haggerty said in an email that the lottery doesn’t know where the bad guy got real user names and passwords. “All we know is that it wasn’t our site.”

“We do know that people using the same user names and passwords for more than one account was a big part of this,” he said.

Haggerty said, “There are bad people out there who want to steal your information.” “We caught this, and no one’s personal information was lost or stolen.

“But bad guys will keep trying, so now is a great time to remind everyone to follow best practices for cybersecurity” and change passwords often, make strong passwords that are different for each account, and check their accounts regularly for strange activity.

Gayle Gordon

As a college student, making an extra buck now and then was very important. I started as a part-time reporter since I was 19 yo, and I couldn’t believe it might become a long-time career. I'm happy to be part of the Virginian Tribune's team.

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