The organizer behind the E3 gaming convention has messed up bad by accidentally leaking the contact information to more than 2,000 journalists who attended the show this year.

For some reason, E3's public website featured a link to a spreadsheet containing the sensitive information, which includes email addresses, addresses and phone numbers for media members who attended the annual gaming show. The security flub was spotted by YouTuber and gaming writer Sophia Narwitz, who notified E3's organizer, the Electronic Software Association, about the spreadsheet.

"ESA was made aware of a website vulnerability that led to the contact list of registered journalists attending E3 being made public," the association told PCMag in a statement. "Once notified, we immediately took steps to protect that data and shut down the site, which is no longer available. We regret this occurrence and have put measures in place to ensure it will not occur again."

Unfortunately, the damage is already done. A copy of the leaked spreadsheet has already begun to circulate online, open for anyone to view and save.

The "doxing" from the E3 leak risks unleashing a new wave of harassment on the gaming media when many gaming journalists already face personal attacks from online trolls who disagree with their reviews and view points. The danger was underscored in 2014 during the Gamergate controversy when an online harassment campaign targeted several women in the gaming industry, and resulted in death and rape threats against them.

Although reporters generally publicize their work email addresses and social media handles, phone numbers and address information is usually kept private, and for good reason. The ESA hasn't fully explained why it accidentally made the contact information public, but the security blunder illustrates why everyone should be careful when giving up their contact information; it's best to avoid handing over your home address and personal cell phone number when possible.

By Michael Kan


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