Authentic Security

About ten days ago I was reading my favourite World of Warcraft tabloid site, WoW.com. One of their bloggers, Adam Holiski, was going apeshit about a leaked Blizzard policy regarding restoring items and characters on accounts that have been hacked. Another one of his articles suggested that Blizzard wanted to make it mandatory to have an authenticator attached to every account, and that it was a “virtually forgone conclusion that it will happen.”

Dramatic. No evidence to back most of this up except the word of an unnamed source. But one does what one can to draw viewers to an ad-driven site.

I’ve read many of the account security arguments, how Blizzard should just give everyone an authenticator for free if they want to make sure accounts are secure. Others say they’ll play the game how they want, and Blizzard isn’t going to tell them what to do. The paranoids usually trickle in and say it’s all a conspiracy, that the whole thing is just a scam from Blizzard to get more people to buy the authenticators.

Jesus. The player base is stupid and lazy, while Blizzard is greedy and uncaring.

I have an authenticator on my account. I have protection for my computer, the cyber condom as it were, that I downloaded for free. It always updates itself, and it has thrown a red flag on a couple of sites that had potentially harmful content.

Not a peep on Two Girls – One Cup though. Lesson learned.

It’s obvious what the player needs to do to make sure they keep their account safe. Many don’t do it, but it’s not because they don’t know what to do. Again, lazy. So is there something Blizzard can do to improve account security?

Adding an authenticator to every shipped box of Cataclysm will not cure the problem. It might help the paranoids who think Blizz is just looking for another way to get cash out of them. God knows we want those people happy and, more importantly, playing the game.

You can take an authenticator and place it in every sweaty gamer palm, but that won’t get them to go through the procedure of attaching to their account. Yes, it is a stupidly simple procedure to do so. But many of the folks who play this game are easily boggled, and the concept of typing a serial number into a text box sends them around the bend.

What I hope they don’t do is to make it mandatory to have authenticators. That way, my account will always be safe. The people who hack accounts spend all their effort designing fake web pages and writing bogus emails. They’re not using brute-force hacks, they simply troll the waters and hope they get a bite. When they do, they get the info they need or drop a keylogger on the Darwin-nominee’s system and wait for the account info to roll in. So that fifteen character password that’s changed all the time, mixed with letters and numbers, that seems virtually impossible to figure out? Well that’s getting sent right to the Hacker, who will immediately change it to “sucker” once he slaps HIS authenticator on the hacked account.

With the account-acquisition business booming, there’s no need for Hackers to step up their game and try to beat authenticator-protected accounts. They will continue to pick on the easy prey, rather than try to improve their methods. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

There is no valid excuse not to have an authenticator. The cost is the same as a burger and fries at your local fast-food joint. If you don’t want to give your money to Blizzard, you may find out that it’s easier to protect your pride than it is to protect your account. If you’re worried about breaking it or losing it, well you probably aren’t reading this anyway because you’ve lost your keys and are locked out of your house.

Another perk of having an authenticator is being superior to others. I logged on to my guild toon today and watched a guildie’s girlfriend post that his account had been hacked. She wrote in CAPS to make sure her point got across. She was promptly Silenced because of the “no caps” guild policy, followed by people pointing out that THEY have authenticators. Don’t you want to be one of the cool kids in your guild, who can thumb your nose at people who don’t have authenticators? Sure you do.

Bottom line is that there’s two ways to make sure your account remains safe. You can either constantly change your password, install malware and virus protection, make sure it is always up to date, ensure you only log onto your account on a computer that you know is equally as protected as your own.

Or get an authenticator.

Hackers aren’t putting in much of an effort to hoodwink the player base. You can walk to stay one step ahead of them.

But for those who have trouble putting one foot in front of the other, I thank you. Folks like you will ensure Hackers never have to break into a jog to catch the rest of us.

Remember Kids – If you’re being chased by a grizzly, you don’t have to outrun the bear. You just have to outrun your slower friend.

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About Donny Rokk

Gamer. Writer. Lover. Fighter. Defying stereotypes, one nerdgasm at a time.

Posted on January 17, 2010, in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Authentic Security.

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