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Posts with tag Account-Theft

WoW account hackers sentenced to 2 years in Chinese prison

Gold pile
We've all been affected by account theft in some way. Maybe your account has never been hacked, but I'd be willing to bet a guild mate or friend has had to deal with this annoyance. Blizzard has a pretty smooth system in place to fix these things for the account holders, but it doesn't stop it from being profitable for the hackers involved. They still get their gold in the end. Would you wish prison time on these people?

Last week, a group of 10 Chinese men were sentenced to prison for stealing from a total of 11,500 World of Warcraft accounts. The leader of the group, Chen, purchased hacked WoW accounts for $1 each and emptied them, selling the resulting gold for an average of $3 per account. Eventually one of Chen's accomplices left to start his own hacking "studio" to flip WoW accounts with several employees. A series of complaints led to an investigation and subsequent trial where Chen was found guilty, fined $8,000, and sentenced to 2 years in prison. The others involved were fined $1,000 and sentenced to just under 2 years in prison. Their $10,800 in profits and computer equipment used was also confiscated by the authorities.

Filed under: News items

Why Blizzard isn't opening a gold shop

Last year, Blizzard started an experiment with the Guardian Cub, a pet store purchase that could be bought and sold in game with gold as well, since it was Bind on Equip. At the time, a lot of WoW players (including us) saw this as an experimental foray into Blizzard finding ways to allow people to get extra gold using real life money without directly selling gold. In part, that was because Blizzard came right out and admitted that's what it was. Since that time, we've seen no new Blizzard Store purchases that were BoE in this fashion.

Since then, we've heard a lot of complaints about botters who use hacked accounts to not only steal all the gold said account possesses, but also then use it as a farming bot for as long as they can keep hold of it. Some players are even suggesting that Blizzard should simply sell gold itself, cutting out the middleman and putting gold sellers out of business. Why isn't this a good idea?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Account Security, Mists of Pandaria

Reminder: Watch out for Mists of Pandaria beta invite scams

Email notifications for the Mists of Pandaria beta have started arriving in people's inboxes -- and this means that we'll likely see an upswing in beta invite scams, as well. If you have received an email stating that you've been invited to participate in the Mists beta, be aware of the following:
  • Don't click any link in the email. Blizzard will never ask you for your account information via email, nor will it usually provide any kind of link to click on.
  • Do head to Battle.net. Type the URL into your browser (don't follow a search or email link) and use the secure login on that page to log into your account.
If you have been invited for the first round of Mists beta, you will see your normal World of Warcraft: Cataclysm account listed under your game accounts -- and underneath that, you will see a listing for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Beta. If you do not see a link to the Mists of Pandaria beta under your game accounts, you are not in this round of testing, and the email you were sent was a fake.

The same applies with beta keys as well. If you receive a notification with a beta key, do not click on any links in the email. Go to your Battle.net account as listed above, head to Manage My Games, choose Add or Upgrade a Game, and manually enter the beta key. If the beta key works, you're in; if it doesn't work, you may have been the recipient of a fake key.

Remember, any time there is a beta or a trial period for a new game, there will usually be an upswing in attempts to nab accounts, too. Keep your account safe -- and if you made it in the beta, have fun!

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Account Security, Mists of Pandaria

The Lawbringer: Account security and you


Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

New players will soon be streaming into World of Warcraft come Cataclysm time, as well as old friends and enemies returning from prolonged sojourns. With these new or old accounts becoming active again, as well as a demand for grey market services increasing with a growing player base, account security is going to be on the tip of everyone's tongue again. For good reason, too. World of Warcraft has had one of the most daunting burdens of any MMO to date in dealing with account security, account hacking and a legal nightmare overseas.

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Filed under: The Lawbringer

Blizzard announces automated account recovery form for hacked accounts


World of Warcraft accounts have been under siege for years, with hackers and gold-selling outlets stealing passwords, items and more to fill their coffers, selling that gold to unwitting buyers. Blizzard has fought back incessantly over the years to stem the tide of gold farming and account hacking, and as you can imagine, the scale at which this happens is very tasking on its customer support department.

Blizzard has just announced a new, speedier way to get help and answered about your hacked account, stolen items, authenticator issues and more! Now, under the new system, you will not have to email or call Blizzard to get these matters into its queue -- simply use the Account Recovery Form.

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Filed under: News items, Account Security

Adobe announces new Flash security vulnerability

On Sept. 13, Adobe Systems released a security advisory detailing a vulnerability in its Flash Player 10.1.82.76 for earlier versions of Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris, and Adobe Flash Player 10.1.92.10 for Android. The vulnerability also affects Adobe Reader 9.3.4 for Windows, Macintosh and Unix and Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 for earlier versions of Windows and Macintosh. The vulnerability allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service crash and execute a code to take control of your system by delivering this malicious code through a specially crafted PDF or Flash file.

For WoW players, this can mean infection by keyloggers that could potentially steal your login information and compromise your account.

Adobe Systems is working on a patch to stop this type of attack from being possible and plans to make it available the week of Sept. 27, with plans to update Adobe Reader 9.3.4 and Adobe Acrobat 9.3.4 the week of Oct. 4.

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Filed under: News items, Account Security

New issues with Adobe Flash, Google search links could compromise your account

We have news of two new tricks hackers are currently using to steal WoW accounts. First, from Curse, comes news of a Google sponsored link that claims to lead to the popular addon manager Curse Client, but instead leads to a malware download. To be absolutely safe, you should always only download the client from http://www.curse.com/client.

In addition, Blizzard is warning that Adobe Flash version 10.0.45.2 contains a critical vulnerability that could be used to install a keylogger on your computer in order to steal your WoW account info. You can avoid this issue by installing Adobe Flash version 10.1 Release Candidate 7, which does not appear to have the same vulnerabilities.

Filed under: Bugs, News items

Real ID security concerns

Ever since the Real ID friend system was announced, players have voiced concerns about hackers and phishers exploiting this system. They're worried that hackers will move through a group of Real ID friends like a wildfire during a drought. While it is always good to have concerns about account security, sometimes paranoia is a bit too much.

Yes, you do need your friend's email address to add them as a Real ID friend. However, that is the last time you'll ever see that email address in your game client -- once you hit the "Send Request" button, that's it. There is no way to look up that person's email address from the interface again. The only personal information in the client after that is your friend's name.

Just remember that this system is meant for your real-life friends and family and not for some guy who was a good healer in your ICC PUG last week. If you don't know where to go to knock on the person's door if something happens to your account, then don't share your email address.

Filed under: Account Security

StarCraft II beta is live. Beware of scams!

People are getting actual StarCraft II beta invites, but that doesn't mean that all beta invites (or any other emails that look like they are from Blizzard) are real. If you got an email saying that you have been invited to StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, don't click anything in that email. Instead take the following steps:
  • Type battle.net into your browser (no typos) and it will go to the secure battle.net site appropriate to your region.
  • Enter your account info.
  • Under Manage My Games, choose Add or Upgrade a Game.
  • Enter the Beta Key provided in the email where it says Enter Game Key.
  • Press Add Game.
If you are able to successfully add the game to your library, then you received a real beta invite. If the email tells you to go someplace else for the beta key or the key provided did not work, then you received a phishing email.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Account Security

The Queue: Nuts and bolts

Oh boy. Most of us are the walking dead after BlizzCon, but let's get back to something resembling normalcy with a Queue. We're going to start off today with an important matter concerning authenticators and account security, then move on to a bit of WoW.com business and Onyxia. I'd also like to direct attention to two really good comments from the last column re: technical issues, Shadow's and Logarth's.

Zerounit asks...

I recently got an Authenticator in the mail and I noticed something while I was inspecting it: there appears to be no way to open it short of cracking it open with large objects. Is there a battery life on these? If it stops giving me my magic codes, will I have to get a new one?

I got an authenticator for my own use recently and have to admit I hadn't thought to look into the battery life, which is a very good question indeed. A dead authenticator means you have no way of getting into the game (or even into your online account) without official help from Blizzard.

Turns out the little security doodads are manufactured by a company named Vasco, and after poking around their website, I'm reasonably certain that Blizzard authenticators are a variant of Vasco's DIGIPASS GO 6 model. What makes me so sure? The GO 6 model page is the only one accompanied by an article on fraud and hacking in online gaming. They don't come right out and say that Blizzard is a customer, but unless Hello Kitty Online is a bigger hive of scum and villainy than even we gave it credit for, you don't have to be a genius to figure out that World of Warcraft figures prominently in MMORPG account theft.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Account Security, The Queue

WoW Rookie: Keeping your account safe and sound


New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

It doesn't take keyboard gymnastics to prevent your account from getting hacked. As a new player, you're bound to be concerned – and if you do any digging at all, you're also bound to uncover a tangle of acerbic, rather arcane-sounding comments (many of them on posts right here at WoW Insider) about what operating systems, browsers and browser add-ons are most secure.

You really don't have to change your entire computer system simply to keep your WoW account safe. This week, WoW Rookie rounds up a selection of WoW Insider posts that show you how (and why) to keep your WoW account from being hacked and prevent your computer from spilling its beans to the world at large.

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Filed under: Features, WoW Rookie, Account Security

Blizzard Authenticator to be introduced at the Worldwide Invitational

The problem with keyloggers and other methods of account theft has been well documented here at WoW Insider, and it seems like a constant problem. Even the most conscientious of players has fallen prey to it. However, at the Worldwide Invitational, Blizzard is introducing a little piece of hardware that could make those problems vanish. Say hello to the Blizzard Authenticator.

The Authenticator is a small piece of hardware that you can associate with your World of Warcraft account. Once the Authenticator is associated with the account, you will need it to log on. Every time you log on, you press a button on the Authenticator to generate a six-digit code that you must input to log on. Since only you know the code, and it's generated apart from your computer at the time you're ready to log on, it will be safe from trojans, keyloggers, and other hacks.

The Authenticator will be available at the WWI to start, then eventually at the Blizzard Store. The starting price being quoted by Blizzard is $6.50 -- a small price to pay for safety from a ransacked bank and naked server transferred characters, for many.

Is this the big announcement though? It's possible, of course, but we like to think there's more in store at the WWI. Stay tuned here, and we'll let you know.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Hardware, Account Security, Worldwide Invitational

McAfee report reveals the most dangerous web domains

In an era where clicking on the wrong link while browsing the web could mean your account will get hacked, and one of your guild members clicking on the wrong link means your guild bank could get emptied as well, it's always good to protect yourself and keep abreast of web security issues.

In that vein, it's worth checking out a new report released by McAfee called Mapping the Mal Web Report Revisited. It tested 9.9 Million websites in 265 domains to find out which ones had a higher risk of exposing visitors to malware, spam, and malicious attacks via a red, yellow, and green system.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Account Security

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