Anonymous threatens Zynga

The hacker group plans to act November 5 unless Zynga changes course

The notorious hacker group calling itself Anonymous has chosen Zynga as its latest target, according to a posting on, the news platform for the group. Anonymous released some "confidential" documents purportedly taken from Zynga, along with a data file supposedly containing copies of Zynga games taken from Zynga's servers. The key to the data file will be released on November 5 unless Zynga chooses to "cease immediately the plan." Anonymous has named its plan #OP MaZynga.

Zynga's secret plan, according to Anonymous, involves a layoff of 800 Zynga employees and moving all development of games to Bangalore, India, which Anonymous claims (in broken English) will "come to end of the US game market as we know it as all this jobs will be replaced in other more convenient financial countries."

The documents leaked by Anonymous include portions of two lawsuits filed against Zynga, one earlier this year and one in 2010, both of which are in the public record. The release of these documents (which are apparently scanned with handwritten highlights and marks) doesn't reveal anything that isn't already public knowledge.

The documents also included two memos supposedly from Zynga CEO Mark Pincus; one is a draft, and the other is the edited version. The draft memo looks like it was composed on a typewriter, then edited in pen. The signature block, which is identical to the signature on the edited memo, is in a different font. Apparently, we are to believe that (a) Mark Pincus composes memos on a typewriter, edits them by hand, and then signs the draft before entering it into a computer and (b) his command of the English language is at a grade-school level.

"As we speak we are planning to release also all the games we've taken from their servers for free"


The text of the memo is in broken English, reading more like a Nigerian scam email than a memo to "Dear Executive Board" should read. The text talks about "an additional cut of 800 jobs with further raising of new capital from the market to support businesses" by November 23, and ongoing work to "completely outsource our development teams in our offices in Bangalore, India to hedge our position in the long term."

None of it makes any particular sense; Zynga has no need to raise additional money with $1.6 billion in cash. You wouldn't talk about outsourcing jobs as a way to "hedge our position." You might do that to save money, but no one would expect developers in India to be able to craft better games for the US market than developers in the US could.

Finally, the threat by Anonymous to release Zynga's games for free if their demand isn't met doesn't seem like much of a threat, since the games are all free anyway. Besides, you can't play them without support from the servers. Unless there are trade secrets in the code that could be revealed by this action, the threat is ludicrous on its face.

The video posted to YouTube has been taken down, but the posting on is still acquiring comments; one of the latest is "They're f2p social games you morons." That pretty much sums up the case.

Anonymous' statement in the video, as transcribed on their web site:

'Zynga customers and Facebook users, We are anonymous. During the last few days anonymous has been targeting Zynga for the outrageous treatment of their employees and their actions against many developers.

We have come to believe that this actions of Zynga will result in massive layoff of a thousand people and legal actions against everyone that speaks to the public about this plan.

It will also come to end of the US game market as we know it as all this jobs will be replaced in other more convenient financial countries.

With a billion dollars cash sitting in a bank we do believe that such actions are an insult to the population and the behaviour of corporations like Zynga must change.

Anonymous could not allow this to happen so it's starting to release confidential documents we have leaked on this plan

As we speak we are planning to release also all the games we've taken from their servers for free.

That being said we will stop the idea of the distribution of such games if Zynga will cease immediately the plan.'

GamesIndustry International has reached out to Zynga for comment, with no response as yet.

Update: Zynga declines to comment.

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Latest comments (12)

Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 6 years ago
Wow... there causes are getting stranger and stranger. How about hacking a terrorist organisation and having over information to government official to prevent people being hurt or killed, rather someone when someone impinges on your sense of self righteousness?

And surely, if Zynga are going to have layoffs then this is only going to make the problem worse!
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
Immature loners, mostly script kiddies, who throw their weight around anonymously.
Just exposing their names and addresses would stop their childish, sociopathic stupidity.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 6 years ago
"Cease immediately the plan"? "It will also come to end of the US game market as we know it as all this jobs will be replaced in other more convenient financial countries." I feel like I'm reading a Nigerian spam mail. Surely with grammar like that, not to mention the memos they produced, this has to be some sort of joke.
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Show all comments (12)
Elliott Lock Designer, The Creative Assembly6 years ago
All your bases are belong to us.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.6 years ago
Good thing for them their coding "grammar" is better than their verbal grammar else they couldn't hack up anything short of a hairball.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 6 years ago
Someone set up us the grammar bomb.
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Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts6 years ago
One of the biggest shortcomings of Anonymous, even on paper, is that in having no clear definable leadership the "brand" is extremely susceptible to hacking and misdirection. Anyone can claim to be Anonymous, the Voice of Anonymous, etc.

Either way, this is flat out ridiculous and there's no way the collective of Anonymous would get behind a cause with this little evidence. Anonymous 2.0 is about vigilante justice in circumstances where the government is unwilling to fight and the public is unable to help themselves. There might be one or two people who try to DDoS Zynga on that day, but the firestorms that Anonymous has brought in the past won't be seen here.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
Heh... maybe this is a disgruntled Zynga soon to be ex-employee? That jokin' English and really lousy plan seem like something an angry guy, gal or small group of people about to lose their jobs could cook up. As in they won't do anything really bad, but the threat might get some interest into how Zynga is handling some of its business.

Eh, whatever - as always, we shall see. Back to the hurricane watching from my window...
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 6 years ago
You have no chance to survive, make your time.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 6 years ago
Those hackers making the claim should be found and charged with extortion.. But then again, last year they claimed something big would happen on by them on november 5th that would destroy facebook... ofcourse nothing happened...
There is no anonymous, anyone can call him/herself anonymous and therefore the term 'anonymous' is just useless and only a means to get some undeserved attention..
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Peter Dwyer Games Designer/Developer 6 years ago

Anonymous are actually fast getting themselves shifted into the "Terrorist" category in police eyes. They are threatening innocents and ordinary poeple with what amount to acts of cyber terror. If these are really lonely kids trying to belong to some group they think is cool. They would do well to consider what the long term consequences of those actions may be. It's only going to take one of them threatening to hack a CIA database or nuclear facility for them to suddenly no longer be beneath the mainstream intelligence communities radar something I am sure they are already hanging off the edge of.
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up6 years ago
Yoda's moved to the dark side.
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