Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Protecting Your WoW Account

   Lately i have been away from WoW as well as Diablo, but that doesn't mean that i have lost interest in the games. Well to be honest i kinda lost my interest in Diablo as the feeling i am getting while playing it is simply like i am playing a beta game. But that put aside i still have my interest in WoW, and the economy part in particular, even though we have hit a rough patch of boring as it is.

   As a gold making oriented individuals we love to play the game for it's virtual currency making aspect, where if you play it right you can influence and shape a whole economy. Well today we are going to take a look at the ULTIMATE way to influence the shaping of an economy by doing the most important thing that you can do, protect yourself from hackers and keeping your hard earned gold in your account and away from the black market.

   First of all lets clear one HUGE misunderstanding, whenever someone says that the Chinese farmers are the people that are responsible for the economy going to the gutter, you are dead wrong, it is in reality your own fault. Now let me explain the reasoning as to why i am saying this.

   Let us begin by defining the usual suspects: 

Chinese "farmer" this is basically some guy or a girl that sits in front of the computer and makes gold by actually playing the game, be it by actually farming or playing our beloved AH PvP. ( In many occasions these individuals aren't Chinese, but still the term is the term )
Botter this is a guy that doesn't like to sit and spend his time at the keyboard , so instead he is using bots (automated programs) to do all his work for him.

Gold Selling Sites well pretty much everyone that has ever gotten up to a major city without turning off his trade channel has had a run in with these guys. They don't actually farm anything as they are more or less a "middle guy" in a otherwise simple transaction. They connect the buyer of the gold with a seller and take a piece of the profit for them selves.

Hacker this is the highest threat to the economy of any game. These are the guys that steal your account information and then log in and pick clean your entire account in a matter of minutes.

   Like i previously said the hackers are the biggest problem by far. The reason why this is so is simply because of the gravity of the impact they have on the economy. When they steal your gold they transfer it away somewhere where they will be able to store it until they find a buyer that they can offload to and get their money. Well the issue arises because when you file a report saying that you were hacked you always get your inventory and gold back, but rarely is your original gold found before it ends up to a buyer. The reason why this is an issue is simple, lets say for an instance that you had 500k on your account. Now if you were hacked, the hacker got away with a 500k worth of loot for a 5 min work he did, that same 500k is now into circulation because it will end up on your same server to some other guy that paid money for it.

Now comparing the 500k a hacker for a 5 min work, to a botter is like comparing your local grocery store to a fortune 500 company. They will both make money but the difference in cash/hour is going to be huge. Don't get me wrong though, botters do have an impact on the economy, but they are dependent on the community to buy their farmed goods and are more or less a factor in the every day economy in WoW.

   So how do we protect ourselves, do we take up a bulwark and try that way, or magic or stealth ? Well the answer to that would be ... don't be ridiculous this it the real world. But still there are ways to protect yourself, and i will give you a few hints as well as the kryptonite of the hackers.

    This is the the one thing that you MUST get if you are serious about keeping your account safe. They are cheap to get on the market, but if you have a smart phone you can get one for free.
    This shouldn't really require a description as to why as it is always nice to have something that will stand in the way of malicious software trying to steal your information ( keyloggers in our case)
    Really there is no need for you to spend your hard earned cash to get some quick gold, or even worse for someone to play or bot the game that YOU bought, and YOU are paying a monthly price. If you need gold simply read up some of the articles that are on the blog, or some of the other FREE blogs out there and you can get your gold fast and FREE and you will have some fun making it. And not to mention the fact that giving your account information, or even worse your credit card information to a individual or a site that you don't know is not the smartest thing to do.
    This is that kryptonite that i was talking about. This is where more then 90% of the black market gold comes from. But to make it more clear, NEVER EVER use the same password you have on your account and your email that is attached to that account. On top of that, NEVER EVER use the same password on community sites that require you to put in a e-mail. The reason for this is that many, many people do that mistake where they would make an email and put in a password like (qwerty or 123456) and then use that same password for their WoW account and pretty much any other account they make on any forum or community site ( MMO-Champion and similar).
    The reason for telling you this is because many people do this mistake and then they wonder how they got hacked. YOU didn't get hacked, but the community site that you are a part of got hacked and their info was used to feel your account up and see if the passwords match, if they do then you are screwed. So i say it again, NEVER use the same password for your e-mail and community sites that require your password.
    And another thing you might want to do if you want some extra security would be to change your passwords on a monthly basis.

    P.S. If you are by chance actually using a password such as QWERTY or 123456 then you do deserve to get hacked !
   So i hope you had a nice time reading this, and i really hope that you didn't find out anything new ( it means that you already did everything right and you are protected) but if you did read something that you didn't know, then apply that to better the safety for your account, and stay safe and protected, and keep those hacking SOBs away from your hard earned gold.


  1. Get an email account (gmail etc) specifically and only for your wow account. Use it for nothing else so you can ignore all the emails from "blizzard" coming to your normal addresses.

    1. That's a very good tip because if i am right G-mail has "authenticator" of a sort as well on the mail.

  2. This article is a good attempt a security but leaves a lot of things out.

    You wrote:
    This is the the one thing that you MUST get if you are serious about keeping your account safe.

    Sorry but that is not true. Authenticators have been show to not be 100% safe. There are ways to get around them and yes it has happened. They are an important part of staying safe if you have no idea about computer security but they are not a guarantee.

    Solid antivirus? It’s a good start but what is really needed is a security suite. Something that will warn you before you go to malware sites. I run ESET but there are many others out there. Your security suite should also include a firewall. Turn it on.

    Your suggestion of monthly password changes is also not correct. If you have a keylogger on your system or your pc is part of a botnet then the frequency of password changes is meaningless. Further it’s shown that frequent password changes usually result in people using simpler and simpler passwords over time.

    Other things you missed.

    1) Turn on windows update.
    2) Update flash and set it to auto update. Flash is one of the biggest security hole at the moment
    3) Use Chrome or even better Firefox with adblock & flash block
    4) stop running as administrator. Make a separate admin account and then set your main account to a user.

    1. See this is exactly why i love blogs. A theme or an idea is started, and then the readers keep piling up on the information so at the end you end up with a nice bit of information.

      As for the Authenticator, it is a dare i say 98% safety net, but still i would take those 98% and go with them rather then not taking them.

      And thank you for your well written comment.

  3. As for Authenticators - First they are basically required to play D3. I know this is a WoW blog but there are a lot of "double-dippers" that play both, so that is a good enough reason to get one alone.

    Plus I've yet to see a CONFIRMED case (though I don't doubt there are) of account compromise under an authenticator where there was no other leading cause for the compromise. Blizzard has confirmed that a D3 account has yet to be stolen from under an authenticator and I imagine the risk of a WoW acct is so low as to render the silly "Don't get an auth because people have been hacked with an auth!" argument completely invalid.

    I also refute the other guy's point that a full security suite is needed for WoW security. I go as far as to say no third party software is needed as such a vast MINORITY of compromises are actually saved through these means and security software usually comes with large sets of non-WoW related drawbacks to running them.