Stropp's World

Games And Gamery

Time To Be Careful, Again.

Posted by Stropp on December 20, 2010

I just wanted to do a little public service announcement.

I’ve been seeing a huge rise in the amount of email phishing for my World of Warcraft account lately. I figure it is because of the renewed interest in the game because of Cataclysm. With thousands, dare I say millions, of new players and many old players resubscribing it must be like phish in a barrel season for the email scammers.

The scary thing is that a lot of these emails are getting very sophisticated and seem to be the real thing. They tell you someone has accessed your account (plausible), and use link anchor text to disguise the real destination of the link so that it looks like Blizzard is sending the email. Hover over the link however, and you’ll see the real destination in the status bar. This is usually some long combination of words like (or the like) that will take you to a website that will install a keylogger on your system to steal your password.

As always there are a few things you can do.

  1. Never click on links in an email. This is the biggie and most important tip. Not doing this will prevent most security breaches. If you’re a World of Warcraft subscriber you already know the address, just type it in to the address bar on your browser.
  2. Get the authenticator. That adds another layer of security to the login process, and it’s a layer that cannot be intercepted by a keylogger for any useful purpose.
  3. Use a secure browser. That means, DO NOT use Internet Explorer. At least don’t use any version prior to and including version 8. I’ve heard version 9 is a complete revamp and addresses security better, so it may be okay. I use Firefox mostly, but am moving more and more towards Google’s Chrome browser as it has some decent site malware detection built in. I’ve been warned off a few sites by Chrome now. Very good.
  4. Never give your password to anyone. That way anyone can not give your password to anyone else. I’ve heard a few stories where guy gives little brother access to WoW and a few days later finds the account cleared after little brother gave the password to a guildie. It’s in Blizzard’s terms of service too.

Just a final note.

The funny thing about this latest influx of phishing emails is the email address to which they are directed. For a long long time it was easy to discount an email because it was directed at my Stropp’ s World email address, and that is not the address I use for the account. The username I used to use for my WoW account was odd too and wasn’t guessable from any ingame characters. But since Blizzard has forced all WoW subscribers to use and the username for that is my email address, I’ve been getting phishing emails to that account.

Anyway, just follow the tips and you should be okay.

Battlenet WoW Account Merges – Bad For Everyone?

Posted by Stropp on October 30, 2009

[adsense_id="1"]MMOCrunch has a post about the time having come to merge my World of Warcraft account into Blizzard’s new Battlenet service. There’s still a bit of time though, since WoW won’t become unplayable without a Battlenet account until the 11th of November.

And since I unsubscribed from World of Warcraft some months ago, I have even more time. At least until I decide to resubscribe for Cataclysm, or buy Starcraft 2, or have some other reason.

But being the curious sort that I am, I decided to check out Blizzard’s FAQ on Battlenet. And quite honestly some of it disturbs me a little.

For one thing, it seems that Blizzard is recommending that players merge all their World of Warcraft  (as well as other game) accounts into one Battlenet account. They do say that players will still be able to play multiple WoW accounts simultaneously, but it’s what they don’t say that has me concerned.

There’s no mention of the permanence of the Battlenet account to game linkages. If I created a new BNet for a loved one or a friend account can I transfer one of my games to that?

If I create an account for Starcraft 2, and five years down the track having forgotten the account details, can I create a new account for that game? (I know this doesn’t happen for MMORPG games, but SC2 is a single player game and has a different audience for the most part.)

What happens if I get an account ban on one of my games. Does that ban extend to all the games on that Battlenet account, or even just all the same type of games? Does a ban on one WoW account shut down all my WoW games?

Another question: What are the criteria for a Battlenet account ban that closes everything down?

We’ve all heard the stories from players complaining that Blizzard has unfairly banned them, and how difficult (or impossible) it was to reinstate the account. While these stories often have to be taken with a teaspoon of salt, I’m certain that there have been a lot of wrongly terminated accounts that have not been reinstated.

Not only that, now all my games will be on a single logon which is also something I’m not comfortable with. While once, if you had multiple WoW accounts, it was hard for a hacker to break into more than one account, if a player gets hacked all their WoW, Starcraft, and Diablo 3 data is ripe for the picking.

This is one of the reasons I’ve always resisted those OpenID or Passport schemes. It reduces the fail point of your security to just one spot. I’d prefer to have multiple signons and keep track of them in a non-digital-non-online way.

While it will be a when-I-get-around-to-it event, I’ll definitely be transfering my WoW account at some point. But I won’t be putting all my games on the same Battlenet account. I’ll be creating a new account for each. It’s just a more secure option.