Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hacked! - A Guide To World of Warcraft Account Security


This article was brought to you by The Warcraft Journal Magazine
Account Security

Mysterious things can occur in World of Warcraft, as many players can attest to. Trying to log into your game only to be kicked out moments later. You think to yourself, the servers must be having problems. You log in again, only to have the same thing happen to you. Eventually, you come to find out that you password has changed.
Then you start to panic.
There are even players that don't have the luck to catch them in the act. Some are forced to endure the aftermath and the realization that everything has been stolen.
Hackers. Everyone has heard of them. Most people have probably been told horror stories involving hacked accounts. Perhaps one of your family members, or even you have been subjected to the activities of a hacker.
Account security should be the utmost concern for players. Not only are your characters, items and gold at risk, but your personal information can be recorded and used in a number of ways not intended by you.
There are certain preemptive measures you can undergo to protect yourself from most hackers. Additionally, those who have already been hacked will find this information useful as well.

Never give your password away.

This is a given, and is advised everywhere even on non-gaming sites.
A lot can happen in a relationship where tempers can flare and vindictive things are done. Many players have been burned after giving their account information to a significant other or close friend, only to find out that they stole everything or deleted characters in a fit of rage.
Keep your account information to yourself.
Even if you are giving the password away to someone who is completely trustworthy, they can unknowingly pick up a keylogger virus on various sites around the internet. This virus records keypresses to determine both account name and password. Your friend or family member can transmit this date to hackers who can, in turn, steal your account.
Another good tip is to change your password relatively often such as once a month. This can further prevent hackers from invading your account.

Avoid questionable websites.

It has been said time and time again by Blizzard to avoid World of Warcraft service sites such as gold selling, power leveling or gearing your character. First of all, most of these sites require your account information in order to log in and perform the service. Additionally, a lot of these sites have keylogger viruses embedded into them and can easily steal your password or other information.

Virus scan often.

As mentioned before, viruses can make their way into your computer without you even knowing. Certain viruses can steal your information or transmit data to other parties.
Keep your virus scanner up to date and scan often (once a day or every other day). There are plenty of free virus scanners for those short on cash. Virus scanners are essential for computers, not just for World of Warcraft account securty.

Get an Authenticator.

As of now, there is really no excuse not to have an Blizzard Authenticator attached to your World of Warcraft account(s).
The Authenticator provides a nearly impenetrable defense of your account. Once an Authenticator has been attached to your account, a random string of numbers will be required to access your account (or account information). These numbers are provided to you on your Authenticator. They reset every few seconds and are unique to each login.
If you find you do not have an Authenticator, you have a few options:
- Order the Authenticator from the official Blizzard store (complete with Core Hound graphic!). It costs $6.50 and can take up to 15 business days to arrive.
- Download the Mobile Authenticator for use with iPhone, iPod Touch and Android phones. It is FREE!
Keep in mind the Authenticator is not perfect and while your account is very unlikely to be hacked, it is still possible.
As if total account security wasn't enough, you also get a Core Hound vanity pet when you associate an Authenticator with your account!

Being Hacked?

There are several tell-tale signs of being hacked, or that someone else is being hacked.

- Constant log-ins and outs.
- No or strange responses from the hackee (hacker).
- Constant disconnects.
- Password changed after constant disconnects.
- Missing currency, items or even characters.
- Stripped characters.
- Sudden guild bank dump.
- Emails from Blizzard stating anything from Character Transfer, password change, etc.

If you even think you are being hacked, immediately change your password through the Account Management page on the official World of Warcraft site. Do this while also logging into your account constantly to keep the hacker off for as long as possible.

What to do if it happens to you.

Even if you have followed every one of these tips, there is still a possibility that you can get hacked. Or if you have already been hacked, this information is exceptionally necessary for you.
If you do not have control of your account:
- Immediately reset your password by going to Account Management and then clicking Forgot Password. Click the password recovery graphic. Put in your name, and email address that is associated with the account. You will also need to know your Secret Answer which you chose when you created your account.

- Investigate your account. Follow the steps below.
If you have control of your account:
On a different computer, change your password via the Account Management page. Your initial computer could still have a virus, so it is highly recommended that you use a different computer.
- Login to the game and go to the Help Request icon on the micro menu (contains icons for Character, Spellbook, Talents, etc). It is a red question mark. If you can't see it, more than likely one of your mods has overridden the menu. Disabling addons is recommended.
- At the bottom of the menu is "Talk to GM" and "Report a Problem" buttons. You can do either, but choosing "Talk to GM" most of the time gets you faster replies.
- A text box will open asking you to describe your issue.
- You can also email the GM Department at

Include the following information with as much detail as possible either in the GM box or the email.

- State that your Account has been compromised.
- Any information that you can provide such as the events leading up to the discovery of your compromised account, etc.
- The date (preferably time, too) of the hack.
- Whether or not items, characters, currency is missing (this doesn't have to be exact, but as much information as possible is recommended)
- If your guild bank was affected or not
- Anything else the hacker did such as Race Change, Character Re-customization, Server Transfer, Name Changes, or Faction Changes.

The Warcraft Journal Magazine


  1. As usual a lot of vital windows security tips are left out here.

    1) Don’t use an Administrator account for your day to day account. Yes it can be a pain but don’t do it.

    2) Keep other software up to date. Flash is one of the biggest security holes on any windows box right now. Update it whenever it needs it.

    3) Run firefox with noflash and no script. Yes you need to get use to more secure browsing but it’s worth the effrort.

    4) Turn on windows update. Just do it.

  2. Another very important one is to never use the same password and email address as you do for your WoW account for any other sites you sign up for. Fan and community sites are often targeted by hackers because they know so many people use the same password for a lot of things and not all of these sites have good security.

  3. What if you suspect an account that you used to maintain, but that is not active anymore and on which you have nothing you'd care to go back to, was hacked? I got an email that the password had changed on an extra account I'd used as an RAF dummy back in TBC. I can't log on, since I will not reactivate the account, and I'm tempted to just say "haha, suckers, hacked the wrong account!" and ignore it.

  4. get the authenticator! is like 1 euro and u get a very cool pet. i also read a while back that blizzard said that in the future they were not going to accept account security claims if u dont own an authenticator.

  5. Good post. The only drag is that if I ever do get the hack, how am i supposed to remember what I typed in for a secret question/answer? That was like, what, 6 or 7ish years ago? I can barely remember what I did 6 or 7 minutes ago. What was my point? Yeah, you are right, it is weird they call them jumbo shrimp...

    ALTOs Gold"ish" Advise- The Worst WoW Blog Ever!

  6. Before everyone jumps on the Authenticator solution I would like to share my experience with it. My guilds main tank got one. He lives in Denmark. Then one Thursday night it broke.

    It took him 10 days to get it unlinked from his account. He had to fax paperwork to Blizzard (and really who uses a fax these days!) and wait, and phone them and wait and then wait and wait and wait. 10 freaking days we could not work on LK Heroic. 10 days he could not play. Oh and he really had to push to get a refund for those days as well :(


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