Feeling Vulnerable

This morning I was reading through my feedreader, when I came across this post in A Healadin’s Tear.  It dealt with the scum of the earth… Account Hackers.  She made a very good point about the fact that buying Gold through these “Gold Sellers” isn’t buying farmed gold, it’s buying stolen gold.  Gold that very well may have been a friend, guildmates, or even family member’s.

In the very beginning, it was quite possible that a gold seller’s gold inventory was farmed by some group of guys, and that was thought to be the norm.  But as more time passed, and more people became lazy with their account security, other accounts themselves became a central target for these gold sellers.  Why farm gold, when you can just sell everything someone else has, and take their gold.  Simple concept, but VERY unethical.

Gold Seller Spam

Dead Gold Seller Spam

I have personally had my own account hacked.  I did not realize that I possibly had a keylogger on my system, as I have always been very picky about what gets installed on my PC, and what sites do what without my permission.  I scan my system daily, and use a malware/adware scanner at least a couple of days a week.  I thought that I was prepared for anything, but apparently I wasn’t.

It was several months back, when BC was still running strong, and WotLK was just being leaked.  I believe that I was with my wife and we had her parents over for dinner when I got the text from a friend.

Him: “Are you online right now?”
Me: “No, we’ve got my wife’s parents over eating dinner, why?”
Him: “Are you sure, cause I just saw Khraden get online.”
Me: “Ya, I’m sure, haha.  Are you sure it was him?”
Him: “Yup, in fact he just logged off, and Isenduil just came online.”

Needless to say, I started freaking out at this moment, and grabbed my laptop to log in real quick (this was before I had the spiffy phone that I’ve got now).

As soon as I got onto the computer, I tried logging into my WoW account through the Account Management page.

“Invalid Username or Password.  Please try again.”

Oh snap!

I then get a text from another friend of mine:

Him: “Whatcha doin?  Can’t decide on which toon to play?”
Me: “No, I’m not even online, I think that my account just got hacked”
Him: “What?”
Me: “Ya, [so-and-so] just texted me and said that I was online, but I’m eating dinner right now”
Him: “I’ll see if I can talk to them then.”

He and my other buddy began to try and talk with the hacker, in fact that’s how they first found out, because I wasn’t on as often lately, and my first friend PST’d them saying “Slacker” but got no response… which usually I would always respond with something witty.

They both got no response from the hacker, so I began to think of what I could do.  First thing that came to mind was to use the “Forgot Password” function to have a new password sent to my email address… which fortunately was not hacked (and I had just changed the password on as this all began).  That way I could have the new password, and if the hacker tried to change it, they’d be unsuccessful, and couldn’t retrieve it.  Once I got the confirmation that my password was changed, I logged into my WoW account.

What I saw was saddening.  I logged in and on the character selection screen was my main, lvl 70 Paladin wearing nothing but my Private’s Tabard, Merciless Gladiator’s Ornamented Spaulders, and a smile.. well more of a grimmace.  I then looked at my alts, Isenduil had nothing but a tabard on, Khraderar was luckily to low a level to really be targeted, and the same with Shadowidget.

I was pissed.  My wife doesn’t play WoW, but she could tell, and understood that I was livid.  I told her that I need to see if I can get this cleaned up, cause they could have used the CC information on the account page to buy something, so I gotta see what I can do.  She understood, and said “take care of it baby.”  I love my wife :)

So, I began scanning the living crap out of my computer, both virus scan, and adware scan.  Both of them came up with nothing.  I was confounded, how did he get my password, I never use it on anything else, and have never misspelled any of the Blizzard sites.. how did he get it?  To this day, I still don’t know how, but they should be able to again, cause the HDD has since been formatted.

Anyway, back to the story.  I had gotten onto Khraden to see what damage was dealt.  I had access to our small guild’s Guild Bank, but it didn’t have much in it, but it was still hit.  Unfortunately, I was a max skilled enchanter, so my gear wasn’t sold, but rather disenchanted.  And this guy worked quick, because he had already gotten two stacks of Void Crystals to sell on the AH for a decent chunk of gold.  But there were still several stacks still up.  So I cancelled those auctions, and grabbed them out of the mailbox.  I then put in a ticket to the GMs to see what I could get done, and while I waited for a response, assessed the damage.  I had caught the hacker in the middle of  the act, and had nearly stopped him.

Eventually I did get a reply, and the GMs had put in a ticket with Customer Support and the Technical guys to get it investigated.  I later recieved an email from the Blizz folks that my ticket had been escalated, and was being investigated at the moment and to call if I had any questions.

I was tired, so I went to bed.  The next day, I got up and went to work, telling the guys what all had happened, and that they should be checking their accounts just in case, and letting them know that I’ll be getting everything back when I can to restock the Guild Bank.  Being GM of that guild, it was important that I didn’t let them down.  So, after work, I was headed home, stopping by Steak Out, mmmm Yummmm Steak Out… but I digress, and decided to give Blizz a call and see how the ticket was coming along.  I began providing all the information I had, and what I had done, and what I’d attempted to do to fix it, and basically the guy said, “Well, unlike most folks, you’ve done everything that I would suggest before you even called, what I’ll do is pass this information to our investigation team, and see if we can get an account restoration done for you, but it may take a couple of weeks.”

Personally I was fine with that.  I think that they knew that I wasn’t trying to screw them, and that I legitimately got hacked, and they wanted to help out.  Well, over the next couple of days, I started recieving emails from the investigation team saying that I should be getting in-game mails soon with my restored items.  I was surprised, that was quick.

So when I got home, I took a look, and there they were, mail after mail of boxes of items.  It was a beautiful site.  In the end I did end up with more than I had left with, since some items that I had already sold were returned to me, and I even offered to give the gold up to a GM, but they said to not worry about it, I’d been through enough.  So, I ended up better off after than I had before, but I had also learned a lesson.  When securing your account, be sure to change your password often, and even when doing that, continually scan your system and watch which sites you visit.

Blizzard Authenticator

Blizzard Authenticator

Now-a-days, I’ve got an Authenticator on my phone to help out, and I run NoScript on Firefox, just in case, and also use MalwareBytes to check for any hidden malware/adware crap that may have slipped through.

In the end, I made out well after that ordeal, but it was still a very vulnerable feeling.

Have  you ever been hacked?  If so, what happened?  Also… DON’T BUY GOLD… it’s wrong, and it’s stolen goods.

3 thoughts on “Feeling Vulnerable

  1. Never been hacked myself, but an ingame friend of mine was once. I guess the hackers didn’t think he would fix it as quickly as he did cause he hot his account back the day after with full rights to the hackers guild bank. Needless to say he took everything they had and left a nice guild message of the day. I’ve never been so glad to ehar of someone being ninjad before :D

    • Guess that’s karma for ya. Hopefully the hacker’s guild was only a hacker guild, and not an innocent bystander. If it was the hacker’s own guild though, that’s awesome.

      • By the looks of the content of the bank, name of the characters i see no way it cant be a hackers bank. Although i guess most of their stuff was stolen, but how would you go by to give it back? Better to take it away from the hackers at least ^^

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