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Drama Mamas: Hacking a friend's account


Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server.

It was really hard to choose from the many dramalicious emails we got this week. So much drama, so little time. I'm happy we have so many topics to choose from, but sad that so many of you have to go through so many dramafied situations. This one really did stick out as pretty dramarific, however. Dramarily! Drama-lama ding dong! Dramastified. OK, I'm drama-done. Turn the page for all the dramaness.

Hello Drama Mamas, I'm going to leave myself as anonymous today. Recently me and my friend had an argument about something stupid while I think back, we fell out and both /ignored each other, this was all fine until I remembered that I had just sent him 500g and some adamantite ore (80, to be exact) I sent him the 500g because he needed it for repairs that night (He was doing ICC 10 and was broke). I asked him to send it back and he proceeded to tell me how he was going to sell the adamantite which goes for around 240g a stack on my realm (Yep, 240g)... He posted it on the auction house and kept mocking me on alts he created named things like loliwinnoob, etc. He is an IRL friend so I happened to know a few things about him, I answered his secret question and got the password change email to be sent to him, I also knew his E-Mail password. I changed his password and went onto his account, bubble hearthed in the middle of blood princes hc and sent my 500g and adamantite back to myself. My question to you is, should I have done this? And should I tell him that it was me or just leave it alone? Signed, Anonymous

Drama Mama Robin: Anonymous, no. No, no, no. No. Of course you shouldn't have hacked your friend's account. It's unethical, immoral, cruel, illegal, can get you banned -- you know this, right? Neither of you win in the "how to treat your friends" category here, but you really escalated it from something recoverable (he could have paid you back after you guys made up) to a probably permanent breach.

Here is how you should have handled the issue:
  • Don't burn bridges. You admit now that you argued over something stupid. Though you were upset (nothing wrong with that), it is likely you two would have laughed about the incident later. Even if you argued over something serious, the acquaintance may be worth renewing down the road -- for both of you.
  • Let him keep the money and ore. In general, physically or virtually, if you give a gift to someone, you are giving the gift from the person you are at the time to the person he or she is at the time. It's usually best for both of you to just let the gift stand. And while it is the nice and good thing to do, I think it is also best for selfish motives. You will know that no matter what happens, you did the right thing. Also, these things are pretty easily replaceable in game. Your character was obviously not crippled without them.
  • Ignore the taunts. If he behaves like an immature git, who cares? Report his harassment to the GMs, if it gets out of hand. But otherwise ignore him. Childish is as childish does.
  • Don't be a criminal. Captain Obvious has steam coming out of his ears. Whatever happens in the rest of your life (which I am guessing you are near the beginning of), don't turn to criminal behavior as a solution. It's wrong (duh) and you may end up paying pretty nasty consequences (double duh).
Your friend probably knows you are the one who did this to him. From what you said, you left a trail a mile wide. If you are lucky, he won't report you to Blizzard, his parents, the law, etc. If he decides to continue this oneupmanship and is just as unethical as you are, then expect an attack on your identity as well. If you are a minor, I recommend going to your parents, confessing what you did and asking their advice. Make use of that safety net while you have it. As far as whether you should tell him, well, I'm at a loss. Maybe Lisa has some answers there.

Drama Mama Lisa: It's probably a good thing that you put each other on /ignore -- because now you'll have to talk to one another in person, as you should have done in the first place.

Let's make the facts perfectly clear:
  • It's up to the recipient of a gift to decide whether or not to return it, should the relationship go sour. In this case, the gold and ore now clearly belong to your friend. By breaking into his account and taking them back, you stole his property.
  • Your friend's poor behavior (taunting you in chat and so on) does not excuse your actions. He did not "make" you hack his account and steal from him. This was entirely your decision and responsibility.
  • You've escalated a simple online spat between friends into multiple illegal acts.
Those three points should answer your question about whether or not you should have hacked into his email and WoW account and then stolen the items you wish you hadn't given away.

As for whether or not you should confess to him ... I suspect you already realize that you've crossed lines that should never have been crossed, and I'm betting (hoping?) you wish you could take back all those rash actions. Obviously, your friend will figure out that the hacker was you. You'll be lucky if he doesn't report you to every authority he can. Time to man up. Give him a call on the phone or in person. (Don't email; your online shenanigans have caused enough trouble already, don't you think?) You need to come face to face with your friend and this situation before it blows up any worse than it already has.

Drama Buster of the Week: And now it's time for a public service announcement. As you can see, your account (WoW, email, etc.) is only as secure as the people who know your pertinent data. Don't tell anyone (except perhaps your parents if you are a minor) your password for anything. Also, don't use secret questions that have answers that are easily figured out. If the secret question choices are limited to publicly available information, the best thing to do is to make that another password. What is your mother's maiden name? Y3RM0M What is your pet's name? B1T3M3 Note: Security questions are usually not case-sensitive, so changing case won't help here. Keep your secret question password to yourself, but feel free to use it on all secret questions for all kinds of accounts. It's an extra layer of protection that will keep your online identity that much safer.

Also, get an authenticator (mobile or keyfob), please. That tiny extra step adds a lot of extra security.

Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at dramamamas@wow.com.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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