Brief FAQ on Habbo retros

Thursday, May 31, 2012 / Writer: Taina Kämäräinen, Legal Councel

Many Habbo users have probably bumped into some Habbo-looking sites online, which might seem tempting due to their cheap-looking offers. These sites however are illegal, so called Habbo retro sites, which, when logging in, can cause serious damage by infecting computers with viruses, Trojans or other harmful or destructive codes. Some of these fake sites are designed merely to steal login details from Habbo users, which can then be used to steal the user’s virtual assets in the official Habbo service.

Just today we saw again a vivid example of the harm these sites can do to their users. The Internet has been buzzing about a hacker, who claims to have stolen the Habbo database and is currently sharing it’s contents. This claim is not true. The hacked site in question is not the official Habbo Hotel, but a retro site.

To clarify what these sites are and how they operate, we’ve created a brief, informative FAQ to answer the most common questions related to retros.

1. What are retro sites?

Retro sites are fake, illegal Habbo copies that run on server emulators. There are several retro sites on the market. Most of the sites are just hobby projects, but there are some that make money through advertising and user subscription.

2. How do they work?

The retro sites operate using a server emulator. Some people, who are specialized in developing server emulators, make their living by selling them. The server emulator communicates with Habbo’s computer systems by unlawfully bypassing the encryption of the Habbo client software. Once bypassed the Habbo client communicates with the retro site image server and delivers the images and graphics that are used by the retro site.

3. Why are they a problem?

Many of these sites are harmful for the users of Habbo as they contain viruses, Trojans and other harmful or destructive codes. Also, some of the sites are used to scam and trick genuine Habbo users into revealing their passwords.

4. Are they illegal?

Retro sites are illegal because they use Sulake’s copyrights, database rights and trademarks without Sulake’s authorization. This allows the sites to look and feel like Habbo. This type of activity is an infringement of Habbo’s intellectual property rights and, if caught, the retro site operator is liable to civil and criminal penalties. Furthermore, in many instances the operators of retro sites have illegally reverse engineered the encryption of our client software.

Practically a basic retro site is violating the following rights of Sulake:

-       They have illegally reverse engineered the obfuscation of Habbo Client.

-       They illegally use our Habbo client software, protected by copyright.

-       They illegally use our graphics, source code and databases, protected by copyright and database rights.

-       They often use Sulake’s protected trademarks, Habbo, Habbo Hotel, Sulake or Bobba.

-       They pass themselves off as authentic Habbo sites and deceive consumers.

5. If they are illegal, why don’t you do anything to stop them?

Oh, yes we do. We cannot say a lot about what we are doing, otherwise we are jeopardizing the proceeding of the cases. However, we are following the scene actively and have already prepared and commenced legal actions against certain people. We are especially focused on shutting down and prosecuting individuals who are developing server emulator software. They are enabling the setting up of retro sites. Legally speaking they are jointly responsible for the right violations made by the actual retro sites. 

6. Where can I report a retro site? 

You can report a retro site on your local helptool, here are the links to the .DE, .FR, .IT, .COM, NL, .BR, .ES and .NO helptool sites:

Habbo NL

Habbo DE

Habbo FR

Habbo IT