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25 June 2013, 18:51

World of Warcraft account thefts rising

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World Of Warcraft logo Games producer Blizzard has posted a warning on the official World of Warcraft website, stating that the last few days have seen hackers targeting gamer accounts. Both actual game accounts and the iPhone and Android apps, which provide users with access to the Warcraft arsenal, are affected. The apps provide access to the in-game auction house used to buy and sell in-game objects.

According to Blizzard, there has been a large number of recent violations of accounts which do not enjoy the added security provided by an 'authenticator'. The authenticator generates a specific, unique sequence of characters valid for a single sign-on only. The software required is available as a free smartphone app.

Blizzard does not reveal exactly how many accounts have been compromised. The company says it is in the process of informing account holders whose accounts show signs of unauthorised access. As a result of the attacks, it has temporarily blocked access to the World of Warcraft auction house. Blizzard has promised to restore stolen in-game items and gold to hacked accounts.

The motivation for the hacks appears to be provided by the link between the game's virtual currency and real money. It is currently possible to buy 100,000 World of Warcraft virtual gold pieces on eBay for around 75 real-world euros. The game producer's terms of use state that it does not recognise such trades, but the level of demand means that it is powerless to stop them. Rare pets, for example, often fetch several hundred euros on eBay.


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