Behind the Curtain: My turn to get hacked

It's official – my guildies are 'teh awesomez'. The reason? My World of Warcraft account was hacked yesterday afternoon, and I've already been inundated by offers of assistance and gold from my friends, should things go South once I log back into my account.

To clarify – I came home from work yesterday evening to find a nausea-inducing email from Blizzard informing me that my account had been suspended due to activities which made them suspect it has been compromised. They advised that they had reset my account password, and suspended the account for three hours as a precautionary measure. Unable to actually access my account in-game, I check the Armoury to see what state my characters were in, only to find that of my three level 70 characters, only one is now showing up, and he's completely naked. So it seems that not only have all my items been sold off, but at least two of my characters have been deleted. It's that last part that really annoys me.

Having warned my guild, it seems that the guild bank was left alone, which is a relief. Given that I've only got the standard level of access to the bank, there wouldn't have been too much damage the hacker could have done, but that's not to say it wouldn't have mattered.

I follow all the usual security procedures – I run Firefox with NoScript, AVG and Zonealarm Pro, I only access WoW from one machine, and I've never shared my account info. I have XP patched up, and I reformatted my PC just under a fortnight ago. Although I do use Addons, I'm careful to only download them from WoWAce or Curse, and nowhere else. I haven't even logged into WoW for a week or so, so I'm absolutely bewildered as to where the infection has sprouted from.

I ran Virus and Spyware scans last night, and both came back clean, but I'm taking no chances and I'm doing a complete reformat on my PC over the next couple of days.

Until I've got my machine back on its feet I won't be logging in to WoW, just to be on the safe side, so it's going to be a couple of days before I'm able to properly assess the scale of the damage. Once I've done that I still have to get in touch with a GM, explain the situation and try to recover my gear. Unfortunately, I'm well aware of the horror stories related by players who've found themselves at the tender mercies of Blizzard's Customer Service team.

With the help of my guild, I'm sure that I'll manage to get myself back on my feet, but even if I do manage to gear my characters back up, nothing is going to remove the feeling of worry every time I log into WoW from now on. Like Amanda Dean over on WoW Insider, and probably every other person who's been hacked in the past, I feel angry and violated, and also, oddly betrayed. I'm not entirely sure who I feel betrayed by, considering the whole thing is my own fault, but I've never been one to second-guess my own subconscious, so I'll just go with it.

So there you have it – that turned out not be the hate-filled diatribe I expected it to be. Watch this space, and I'll keep you updated on how things go, but in the meantime, why not hit the comments below and share your experiences of a similar situation, or simply flame me for whining about my own stupidity? Your choice.

This article was originally published on Massively.