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Posts with tag privacy

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

Blizzard's new Warden, and our privacy

Tech community Slashdot is going mad over a little present Blizzard apparently included with patch 2.3 this week: a brand new version of Warden (the program Blizzard uses to check for hacks, bots, and keyloggers) that they say effectively gives Blizzard total control over our computers. The technical stuff is a little hard to understand, but apparently Warden is what's called a "polymorphic program"-- that means that it actually hides from anyone looking at it exactly what it's doing and which files it's changing with a random code. Obviously, Blizzard wants to keep the program's activities secret from attackers-- if a hacker knows what Warden does, then he can more easily avoid it.

In previous versions of Warden, this randomization was "easy to predict," but Slashdot is saying that the new version effectively hides from even the user exactly what Blizzard is doing on your computer. Now, there is no clear reason why Blizzard would want to do anything bad with your computer-- odds are that this new software is the most effective version they've yet developed at making sure you can play the game without fear of hacks or keyloggers, and that's all they want to do with it.

But you should know that, according to "Captain Kirk," who wrote this article, Blizzard effectively has access to anything and everything on your computer, and can now edit or retrieve information at will without even you knowing what has happened. There's no reason not to trust Blizzard-- they're a high profile company with a long reputation of developing great software. But if a wayward employee at Blizzard wanted to steal your private information from your computer, or install a virus or malware on your PC, we're being told that this program will let them do it without your knowledge. You agreed to this-- it's in Section 14 of the Terms of Use-- and so it's up to you whether you trust Blizzard with your computer or not.

WoW Insider has contacted Blizzard and asked them to clarify the situation if necessary-- we'll let you know if we hear anything from them.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

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