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Account security mythbusting

Michael Sacco

So, you might have noticed the increased number of warnings and advice from Blizzard regarding account security lately. They've even popped up in the game itself, as a server message when you first log in. Needless to say, this has caused no dearth of consternation in the WoW community (read: people be trippin').

So, why the sudden notices? Has something changed? Has Blizzard lost their footing in the war against hackers and gold farmers? Is Blizzard in cahoots with them? What's this itchy pentagram-shaped rash I've developed?

Now, there's a lot I can't talk about regarding this stuff, and certainly not for any sinister reason. It's a selfish reason, though, that being that I really like not getting sued. I can, however, use my experience and knowledge to bust or confirm some common account security myths. Ready?

I'm a trained professional. Don't try this at home!

MYTH: Blizzard's internal security has been compromised, which is why these notices have gone up.

Let me be straight with you here, dear reader. I need to stress this for posterity.

Blizzard's internal security has never been compromised. If your account is compromised, it is your fault.

This isn't an idea that a lot of people are comfortable with. After all, Blizzard has all of our login information. Your computer is secure, right? You've never been to any questionable sites. You have an anti-virus program running all the time. This must mean that Blizzard's internal security has been compromised, since there's no other way it could have happened to you. A hacker must have accessed Blizzard's internal account information database.

You'd think that.

I'll pose a question along these lines. If you, as an unscrupulous individual, had access to Blizzard's internal account database -- containing account names, passwords, billing information, and credit card numbers -- would you even bother compromising accounts to farm gold to sell? Or would you do what any reasonable unscrupulous person would do and just take the credit card numbers?

You're right. You'd take the easiest route to the money. Hacking into Blizzard just to get login information is a completely backward and inefficient way of draining money from you the player. Why sell gold when you can print money?

Straight up, if you're compromised, it happened in one of a few ways.

- You had a keylogger placed on your machine because of a security hole on said machine.
- You gave your login information to a third party, such as a power-leveling service.
- You shared your account with someone else, whose actions led to one of the above.

Your computer's security can never be perfect, but it can be drastically improved where WoW is concerned by being vigilant about the sites you visit and the links you click on and, most importantly, by not sharing your account information with anyone.

Take it from the dude who worked there--it's not Blizzard's fault that your account was compromised.

Myth Status: BUSTED

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