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Play safe because a trojan can get you banned

Remember that "non-personal system information" that Blizzard said they are searching for? Part of it is a search for keyloggers, trojans and viruses that affect WoW. If the system check finds one of those on any of the computers you are using, Blizzard will ban your account for 24 hours so that you can get it fixed.

When this happened to a guildie, I must admit I was skeptical. Blizzard scans for viruses? And then sends an email that sounds suspiciously similar to the various phishing emails out there? But my friend sent me a copy of the email and described the whole process to me and I am a believer. Blizzard has some issues it needs to resolve with how it is handling this, however.

The intention of preventing hacking by scanning our systems is a noble one, but Blizzard will not tell you which is the offending program. My friend attempted running several spybot/virus detectors and was unable to find it. A call to Blizzard only resulted in a recommendation to keep trying to find it. After multiple bans and multiple scans, he was extremely frustrated.

There is one surefire way to solve this problem and prevent it from ever happening again: get an Authenticator. Whether you get an app for your phone or the physical gadget, this extra piece of security will keep you from worrying about hackers. Also, even if Blizzard finds a nasty program on your computer, you will still be able to play because they won't ban you with an Authenticator attached.

I still feel pretty icky about having someone else rummage around in my files and smacking my hand if they find something my scanner didn't. But I also have an authenticator and so any internet indiscretions won't affect my ability to play.

Do you think that Blizzard should be "helping" us keep our systems clean? How do you feel about the bans and their handling of the situation?

Following is a copy of the letter from Blizzard, for those of you who are interested:

Greetings,

An investigation of the World of Warcraft account [insert account name here] has produced evidence that the computer(s) used to play the account are infected by a virus, Trojan or keylogger.

To protect your privacy and security, we have temporarily disabled the account for a 24 hour period. During this time, we highly recommend that you follow the below steps to protect yourself and the account from unauthorized third party access.

  • Use up-to-date firewall, antivirus, and anti-spyware software to scan your system regularly for viruses, Trojans, and key-loggers.
  • Keep your operating system and other software up-to-date and be careful when downloading new software.
  • Be wary of "spoof" and scam websites and e-mails that pose as Blizzard Entertainment and request account or personal information. As a reminder, Blizzard Entertainment representatives will *never* ask you for your password.
  • Keep your login information confidential. Account access can only be shared with one minor of whom you are the parent or guardian. Sharing access with anyone else is a violation of the game's Terms of Use. You are also responsible for every use of an account on which you are listed as the registered player, whether the use was authorized or not.
  • Use separate, unique passwords for your email, World of Warcraft, and any other online accounts.
  • Change your passwords regularly and keep World of Warcraft account information updated using the Account Management page at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/account/.

For additional security tips and information, please visit the following sites:

  • Account Security: http://us.blizzard.com/support/article/21131
  • Unauthorized Account Access Policy: http://us.blizzard.com/support/article/20460
  • World of Warcraft Account Security: http://us.blizzard.com/support/article/20572

If you are looking for an added layer of security, we currently offer the Blizzard Authenticator, an optional device that can help prevent unauthorized account access. For more information about how the Authenticator works or how to add one to a World of Warcraft account, please visit the Blizzard Authenticator FAQ at http://us.blizzard.com/support/article/24660.

Please be aware that if viruses, Trojans or keyloggers are found again on computer(s) the account is played from, it may lead to the account being disabled again.

Please contact us at wowaccountadmin@blizzard.com if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Regards,

Account Administration
Blizzard Entertainment
http://www.worldofwarcraft.com
Please remember that account safety and computer security is your responsibility! While WoW.com has provided you with resources to additional information, do your homework and make sure you know what you're doing before installing any antivirus or other software.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Account Security

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