Friday, January 2, 2009


Thankfully, not me, but a good friend of mine from way back in my start in MMO gaming. It's the holidays, and I don't remember seeing much of him, but then, noone has really been on a whole lot lately. Pie>WoW, after all. So, late, late last night, verging on early this morning, my hubby is hanging out in our Ventrilo server with a friend who only can play while his family is unconcious, and another who like to hang out late night, just because he can. Graham mentions that my friend is on, and that he is in the Shadow Labyrinth. He says he tried talking to him in guild chat, then in whispers, but all he got in response to "How are you?" was "hi". I was just getting ready to turn in from a long session at Rock Band, soloing my way to stardom (who needs a stinkin' band anyway?), when he said this, so I logged in to see what I could do.

It started out with the obligatory, "Hey man, how are you tonight?", which, after several minutes, I finally got a "hi"back from. My friend is no one word wonder. He is intelligent, and knows how to carry a conversation. So I shoot back,"What, don't you know how you are tonight?". This time the reply is much faster,"?". I know I am definitely not dealing with my friend, so the whispers stop. I go to the guild page, and remove him from the guild. Oh, that sparks more than a single character response! But it is garbled. Almost as if someone was typing in their native tongue into a Babelfish type translator. I reply to the idea of "Why did you kick me from the guild? Can I come back now?" with,"Until the owner of this account logs into the ventrilo server and asks to be reinstated, no.". Then I open a ticket. Now, I know in the past there really hasn't been much the GM department can do of suspected hacking, but
I figured, it was worth the time it took to type out. As I waited for an answer back, I grabbed my friends e-mail address from the site contact list and sent him an explanation. In retrospect, I should have marked it URGENT! I'm going to do that now....

Alright, task accomplished. Now, today when I logged in, my ticket had been escalated. Still no more than the "we have flagged the account" kind of action. But, better than nothing. Hey, if it gets caught fast enough, my friend could very well be a wealthy man!

On a slightly similar note, A level 74 of the Horde faction was yelling in Dalaran today, in rather garbled engrish,"Port to Shaatha, 5 gold, hurry!" or something along those lines. Sounds like another hacker. Believe it was a shaman. Not surprisingly this comes so shortly after Blizzard warned everyone in a game wide in game mail to do what you can to make your information secure.

Authenticators are inexpensive. Less expensive yet are the safeguards you can employ, for free, to keep your passwords safe. Run a not so ordinary browser, like Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc. Block Java and scripts from sites unless you are 100% sure they are safe. Keep your information to your own computer don't know where those other computers have been! And, for heaven's sakes, don't buy gold or use leveling services! The price you pay up front is only a small amount of the cost.

I'm anxious. No new word from Blizzard or my friend. I have to log into game now. Please, heed this piece of advice. Lock your system up tight!


Pixelated Executioner said...

Right there with you. Unfortunately, my guild has been the target of several hackers in the past few months. It's all about surfing habits, and being smart.

That's one of the reasons why I utterly despise anyone who buys gold, or pays for a leveling service. Goldsellers aren't using farmers anymore. They're using hackers. The gold someone buys most likely was stolen from someone else. As far as leveling services go... the game is not that hard, and leveling a character serves a purpose - it's there so that you learn how to play a character over a period of time, and that your skills can grow as your level and gear does.

Hope everything works out, Shawndra. :)

Mae said...

So sorry to hear your friend got hacked. I've been a victim to this sort of experience, but unlike y'all, my guildies didn't even notice. It's nice that y'all are observant enough to have caught it. When it happened to me, my main got transferred to another server entirely. It was very upsetting. I got all my stuff back and then some, but it still bothered me, a lot.

One of our guildies got hacked like five times in two days. We reported it to a GM and his account got locked out. He had to send them notarized proof of identity before they would unlock his account because they couldn't be sure it wasn't hackers. He never quite recovered from that.

I hope everything works out with your friend.

Shawndra said...

Sadly, though the GM who took my ticket escalated the issue, the same person is out in the Shadow smack on the hand, nothing. And my friend won't answer my e-mails, forum threads, or shouts on the main guild page. And he just posted to the site yesterday morning! So very frustrating!