Urgent Message for WatchUSeek Members

By Harlan Chapman-Green

For this issue I’m simply going to forgot my usual cheerful welcome message that I’d write in my articles as this is a little more important to watchaholics especially those who, like myself, are members of the world’s number one watch forum, WatchUSeek.

WatchUSeek is a community website for fans and professionals alike who come together to read reports of the latest happenings in the watch world and then discuss them in what is probably the world’s largest and most used watch related forum. It was founded in 1996 making it one of the first watch related websites to be fully set up and running. Currently it is joined with a company called VerticalScope which are involved in handling the data of members of the forums and ensuring security.

You may have received an email recently (I got mine at 19:22 GMT) that there has been a breach of security, so to make sense of this here are the facts that we have gathered directly from VerticalScope themselves:

  • On the 13th of June VerticalScope was made aware that data from February 2016 had been stolen from the servers and was being published online
  • The data stolen included community member names as well as usernames, email addresses and hashed passwords for the site, community user IDs and the IP address the user registered with.
  • VerticalScope has invalidated of all user accounts
  • There are also reminders on their sites updating of the risk
  • VerticalScope is currently in the process of updating their security systems

Obviously this is disturbing for some as personal information has been posted on the internet, it is also possible that as well as other VerticalScope forums some members of WatchUSeek have been put on the internet as well without their knowing. If you are a member of WatchUSeek myself and VerticalScope advise you to change your password immediately and put into effect some good password practice to help prevent data loss in the future. Here are some general tips you can use for creating strong passwords:

  1. Do not use your name, address, birthday or relative/friend details in your password
  2. Do not use the same password as before with slightly changed letters/numbers
  3. Include numbers and capitals in your password (you can include symbols but this may make it harder to remember)
  4. The more characters you have the harder it is to guess (VerticalScope now requires 10+ characters in user passwords)
  5. Do not use the same password or variations of the same password across multiple websites

Remember cyber criminals aren’t like your typical fool you might see on TV programs who fell through the shop ceiling and can’t get out. While all efforts will no doubt be made to catch whoever is responsible it’s possible the culprit may never be caught. If they have access to some of your data from other sources such as social media it can be used to test password combinations until the correct one is found (this is know in the I.T world as a brick force attack). Hopefully VerticalScope is doing its best to prevent this kind of attack in the future.

Once again, we advise you to check and change your password now and also report suspicious activity. WristReview cannot be held responsible for any data that’s lost because our simple internet advice was not taken into account.