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Azeroth Security Advisor: Patient patching prevents pestilence

Every other week, computer security expert Jon Eldridge is your Azeroth Security Advisor. He will delve into the darkest reaches of computer security rumor and bring the facts back home even if they're wriggling at the end of a pike. His goal is to provide useful information to gamers who don't think about security much and flame fodder for those self appointed experts who need to rationalize the cost of their expensive certifications. Like any good security force he's a mercenary at heart and is happy to take subject requests from the user community that he serves. So feel free to leave a comment below or just sit back and enjoy the show.

It's Friday night at 6:45 pm server time. Your raid begins in 15 min and you think you're ready to go. Narrowly escaped another speeding ticket trying to get home from work in time? Check. Belly full of pizza? Check. Mind totally polluted on bad tasting energy drink? Ch3cK! Dog fed and walked? Check. TiVo recording the latest over hyped drivel? Check. Kids unconscious. Check. Parents or domestic partner unconscious or otherwise leaving you alone for one damn second? Check. When will they understand that you ARE being social by locking yourself in the computer room all night... jeez!

Time to rock and roll! Or not. What's this? A patch? On Friday night? Agony, shame and defeat. Azeroth will not know the terror of your blade this night. Gornak the mighty has been caged by some dweeb code monkey and their total POS patch system. Your raid leader is going to KILL you. Wait, what about downloading the patch from the Internet? Just Google up the patch number and let your cable modem download it at lightning speed right?

Don't do it.

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Filed under: Patches, Account Security, Azeroth Security Advisor

Azeroth Security Advisor: Preserving your online privacy

Every week, computer security expert Jon Eldridge is your Azeroth Security Advisor. He will delve into the darkest reaches of computer security rumor and bring the facts back home even if they're wriggling at the end of a pike. His goal is to provide useful information to gamers who don't think about security much and flame fodder for those self appointed experts who need to rationalize the cost of their expensive certifications. Like any good security force he's a mercenary at heart and is happy to take subject requests from the user community that he serves. So feel free to leave a comment below or just sit back and enjoy the show.

So you've made it to the top. You're in a 1337 raid guild that can sleepwalk through heroic instances. The PvP teams that are lucky enough to have you grace them with your presence are first in your battle group. Your favorite hobbies include disenchanting purples and watching the n00bs pass out when they inspect your gear. You've been around since beta and everywhere you go people know your name. Yep is sure is great to be you(r toon). /emote pat self on back.

Then it happens. You login to find that somebody in your guild is the object of much ROFLMAO and that somebody is you. Your stomach drops out and your heart goes into overdrive as you read that chat. Now everybody in your guild knows your real name, home address, social security number, political affiliation, and drivers license number. But wait it gets better! Your arch rival just posted links to your online dating profiles, anarchist news group posts you made back in high school, and your criminal history. You've been RL PWN3D in the worst possible way.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Rumors, Account Security, Azeroth Security Advisor

Azeroth Security Advisor: WoW is watching you, part 2

Every week, computer security expert Jon Eldridge is your Azeroth Security Advisor. He will delve into the darkest reaches of computer security rumor and bring the facts back home even if they're wriggling at the end of a pike. His goal is to provide useful information to gamers who don't think about security much and flame fodder for those self appointed experts who need to rationalize the cost of their expensive certifications. Like any good security force he's a mercenary at heart and is happy to take subject requests from the user community that he serves. So feel free to leave a comment below or just sit back and enjoy the show.

Welcome back to the Azeroth Security Advisor. Last week I discussed two of the three ways Blizzard keeps an eye on your computer. This week I'll cover the controversial Warden program whose discovery in Oct 2005 by Greg Hoglund caused a great deal of outrage and confusion not unlike accidentally joining a pickup group full of rogues. Reactions have been so strong that some trolls dwelling in their parents basements are still alternately posting "OMFG BLIZ HACKZ CALL COPS!!!" or "U SIGNED EULA SO STFU N00B!!!!!" depending on which of their medications are kicking in at the time. Most people forgot to care one way or the other within a few weeks and went back to life as usual. Lucky for Blizzard apathy is the universal solvent for organized resistance otherwise they might be facing a class action lawsuit by now.

The Warden's core mission is to continuously audit your PC for suspicious activity while you play. First it reads all the DLL's loaded into the WoW process space, which is a perfectly legitimate activity any way you slice it. After that, the Warden ditches its friendly park ranger hat for a ski mask and takes a look around the rest of your PC. It reads the text in the title bar of every window you have open including that really embarrassing Furry fan site you don't want your friends to know about. Yes Nekudotayim, Bliz knows about your pr0nz.! The Warden then creates a hash code (think fingerprint) of each window title and compares the results to a list of "banning hashes" for potential matches and subsequent divine retribution.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Account Security, Azeroth Security Advisor

Azeroth Security Advisor: WoW is watching you, part 1

Every week, computer security expert Jon Eldridge is your Azeroth Security Advisor. He will delve into the darkest reaches of computer security rumor and bring the facts back home even if they're wriggling at the end of a pike. His goal is to provide useful information to gamers who don't think about security much and flame fodder for those self appointed experts who need to rationalize the cost of their expensive certifications. Like any good security force he's a mercenary at heart and is happy to take subject requests from the user community that he serves. So feel free to leave a comment below or just sit back and enjoy the show.

If you play World of Warcraft you agreed to the Terms of Use Agreement and End User License Agreement even if you don't know it. If you're like most gamers you "agreed" with all the forethought and consideration of a lab rat agreeing to run a maze in exchange for a yummy pellet of rat chow. Scurry, scurry, click, click... yum! Let's face it, when you're just two clicks away from playing the hottest MMORPG on the planet those screens usually go by just as fast as they appear. But what else besides deep fat fried MMO goodness is contained within the WoW client you're running?

One of things you agreed to while merrily clearing those pesky EULA and Terms of Use screens after every patch is that Blizzard "MAY" monitor your PC's RAM and CPU processes for "unauthorized" 3rd party programs that by Blizzard's "sole determination" may or may not be deemed naughty. Naughty in this case includes but is not limited to teleporting, data mining, exploiting bugs, facilitating bots and generally doing an end run around the game mechanics for fun and profit. In reality the WoW.exe DOES monitor your system, silently, thoroughly, and every 15 seconds.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Rumors, Account Security, Azeroth Security Advisor

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