Blizzard may be hiding information in your screenshots, but it can't hurt you

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Blizzard may be hiding information in your screenshots, but it can't hurt you
Blizzard may have embedded info in your screenshots, but it's not a big deal
We're hearing from sources around the internet today that Blizzard has been discovered to be including extra information in screenshots taken from within the game via a hidden watermark. Allegedly, some of this information includes the server IP (not your IP), the account number (not the associated email address or account name), and the time and date the screenshot was taken.

While this might sound unsettling at first, there's a few things we want to get out right away. Please read them carefully, because this isn't as much a security risk as some currently believe:
  • Your account cannot be hacked with this information
  • There is no personal security risk
  • There is no online security risk
These watermarks provide Blizzard with information to go after players posting cheats or private servers. If Blizzard knows the IP of a private server, then it can send take down notices. If it knows the account number of the person posting screenshots of an internal alpha test, then it can terminate that employee or suspend their alpha testing account.

What can't happen is that the information cannot be used to trace screenshots to your IP, allowing someone to identify where you lived. The account number isn't a big deal, either. That number is already accessible via the Armory. The account number cannot be used to hack your account. While we all may not want this information divulged publicly on principle, it can't be used to hurt you, even if it is spooky.

We have been able to reproduce the watermark (or whatever the artifacts may be) fairly simply. Again, though, there is no information in these watermarks that connect your screenshots to you, the person behind your keyboard, living on Dreary Lane. Only to connect your public display of cheating to your World of Warcraft account and/or private server.

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