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Devil's Daily: Account Restrictions

26. June, 2013Tags: MMO Blog

We reported yesterday about World of Warcraft's account problem. There might be some unusual activity affecting a small subset of users, maybe, which Blizzard are looking into and will most likely fix very, very shortly. They've announced it because they've had to send out a few emails to those few users affected, and I suppose they wanted to nip the whole complaint in the bud before people started freaking out. 

Along with their warning, they also told users to change their password and buy an authenticator, just in case. It's not enough to keep your 12 character, alphanumeric password safe anymore, you also need to update it often and buy additional third party hardware/software in order to protect your digital gold, your emails and your social network account. Is it worth it? Is it just paranoia?

Be Afraid...

I mean, we do have a reason to be frightened, right? There are definitely people out there that want to get into our stuff. There are very few medium to large websites that don't have a problem with occasional hacking attempts and we've all been sent emails apparently from loved ones in need of a quick cash transfusion, or have found websites that look like Facebook that ask for our password.

I'm not here to deny that we have to be really careful with our passwords, because frankly a little paranoia is healthy. I could post my set of passwords here and I have no doubt that every single account I have on every game and site would be accessed within the hour. NOthing would happen with them - probably - but I still don't like the idea of people snooping through my things.

Who's to Blame?


But then I'd be to blame, and I strongly believe that that's where 90% of online password problems come from. Either people choosing obvious passwords that anyone with any access to you, either in real life or online, might guess, or giving out their passwords in inappropriate settings. As has been proven time and time again, if a big company loses your password, there's a good chance that nobody will ever be able to work it out, and a better chance that they're not suddenly going to go on a spending spree.

So why do they make such a big fuss all the time?

There are two answers to that, I suppose. The first is that they don't want the negative PR if something does go wrong. Sony, when the PlayStation Network was hacked and brought down for several months a few years ago, assured people that their data was 100% safe, while also suggesting that people cancel their credit cards. Like a doctor, you're never going to get a straight answer from somebody who is worried to promise too much.

Secondly, they want you to be vigilant. If it's true that most accounts are illegally accessed because the owner of that account isn't bright enough to avoid putting their password into, it's important that these companies stress time and time again how important that password is.

Final Word

The main reason this is on my mind, apart from the Blizzard alert, is that it suddenly hit me yesterday that several of my MMO accounts require more effort to access that my bank account. When I want to draw money from a cash machine, I enter a four digit number (1-2-3-4 - am I right?) and then have full access to everything my bank can do for me.

On the other hand, if I want to enter Cabal Online, for instance, I'm forced to enter a four digit number, then my username and password. I'll also need to verify my email address and go through the help team if I want to do anything more than update my password. Just think about that for a second. We defend our money less than we defend our MMO characters.

Now if only my bank would create a USB autheticator, I might stop forgetting my online banking password. I know it was an old pet's name, jumbled up, plus the day I chipped my tooth...

I really do miss the days when "password" would do.

What do you think?

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