Gaming and Account Security (repost)

Posted by on Aug 29, 2012 in Blog, Guildwars 2, News | 1 comment

(Edit: This was originally posted in February as a contribution to the gamer safety week. The recent Guildwars 2 release and the hacking attempts there made me add a few remarks at the bottom of the post.)

We all have heard of hacked gaming accounts, robbed guild banks and stripped or even deleted characters. Gaming account management websites have been attacked in order to extract Credit Card Information. Many of us have been locked  out for weeks from the Playstation network or the SOE servers. And last but not least, fansites of all sizes are being attacked in order to gain account names, email addresses and passwords.

A group of online gaming companies has now come together under the Merchant Risk Council’s (MRC) Gamer Safety Alliance and declared this week as Gamer Safety Week. Members include Electronic Arts, En Masse Entertainment, Microsoft, MindCandy, NCsoft West, Nexon America, Sony Online Entertainment, Square Enix, and Turbine. The purpose of Gamer Safety week is to provide gaming fans and customers with safety information and resources and raise awareness about account security.

Why are online games being attacked? Like all websites doing business on the Internet, online gaming companies process payments this way. The attackers are after payment and credit card information. A thread more specific to online games is the ability to steal in-game currency (gold, platinum, credits) or other valuables, which in turn can be sold to the gamers for cash. And a more general thread exists through vandalism, security advocacy or political activism. I haven’t heard of religious groups hacking online games and their websites, but the motivation is there.

What to do as a user: Overcome your complacency and challenge your lazy self. Again, it’s fairly standard that security is traded for simplicity and ease-of-use. Simplicity can be used to the advantage of attackers. It is effort to come up with new user names and passwords for every website and every game. But if you don’t do it, somebody who gains access to your Turbine information will also be able to access your Sony games. Or worse, somebody who gains access to some small blog you created an account to leave a comment 7 years back will have access to your WOW gold.

Be aware of websites with poor security. For instance, websites that store your password as clear text are vulnerable to hacking attempts. The better ones encrypt the password, then store it and compare the encrypted input at login time against it. This website, MMOCompendium.com stores its passwords encrypted, but sends out initial passwords as clear text. You should be changing them right after you created your account. Another weak spot is the way forgotten passwords are handled: I don’t know your 17 character password, but know the name of your first pet. A website should send you an email with reset information to your registered email address, instead of giving you access right away.

Added security comes from using key fobs or security key apps for your smart phone. Use them whenever they are offered by your game of choice. Those key fobs produce a 6 digit number once a minute and it’s close to impossible to guess that number. An attackers only way to circumvent the system are men-in-the-middle attacks, which intercept your input, disconnect you and use your code on their system. This type of attack is unreliable, since it leaves only a small window (<< 1 min) to succeed. The other option for the attacker is to hack into the fob producers systems and steal seed codes and algorithms.

And lastly, to enable you to manage your passwords better, and therefore make it easier for you to use many different passwords, use a password manager tool. Password Safe has been around for a while and offers good protection. But there are also tools that allow you a more automated approach like LastPass. That’s the one I am using. It keeps track of all login prompts you discover while surfing the web. It remembers the logins and passwords you are using, or better, creates hard to guess passwords for you. Next time you visit the site, it either fills the account information in automatically, or asks you to confirm before it does so. It can also cut and paste account and password information to allow you using them outside of web browsers, like your game login screen.

In the end, information security is an arms race. Compare the value of having access to the data against the effort that is needed to gain access. As long as you can keep it more expensive to hack into your system than the potential gain, you’ll win. And all security efforts come down to this, making it more expensive to gain access.

August, 2012 edit: By now most of us have seen email notifications where others try to reset your password. They can do that if they know your email address. It’s not the best choice to use an email address as account name, especially if the account manages valuable information like your bank account or your gaming account. Some relief can come from using different email accounts or plussed email addresses, which are supported by some email providers. For instance gmail allows this: email sent to [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] are all sent to the same address, [email protected] Not all places accept email addresses containing a “+”, but GW2 does.


© Disclaimer: Guildwars 2
© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


Read More

A Gameplan

Posted by on Aug 16, 2012 in Guildwars 2, The Secret World, Vanguard, World of Warcraft | 1 comment

Civil War Strategy 4 by Avinash KunnathIt seems to me everybody needs a gameplan for the months of August and September. I am looking at all the options the game starved player will have in the next couple of weeks. Guildwars 2 is due roughly in a week, World of Warcraft will publish their 5.0.4 patch at exactly the same date and Vanguard went free to play this week. Of course there’s my current favorite game “The Secret World”. Aside from that, I am also working on getting my business as a website and blog designer going, which indeed takes the majority of my time. I also have a one week trip to Rhode Island coming this weekend.

Civil War Strategy 2 by Avinash Junnath/With me working hard, I don’t have that much energy left to play. I’ve played in the earliest GW2 beta weekends, but skipped the last one and the recent stress test. There was the fear of spoiling my fun, but also dwindling interest. It looks like I am not the only one with this dilemma.

Ever since it became obvious that Vanguard was bleeding subscribers, the majority of us have waited for it to go free-to-play. Now it’s here and I feel no desire to play. Obviously the same reason applies here as well. So many things to do, so little time.

Civil War Strategy by  Avinash KunnathWhich leaves the Pandas. I unsubscribed about 5 months ago, planning to return when MoP goes live. I’ve pre-ordered my wive’s copy of the game, but had no desire to order one for me. (A couple of weeks back she expressed some interest in Guildwars 2, but all offers from my side to let her play in a beta weekend were rejected.) Thus, this will remain a divided house when it comes to gaming. However, I am still fully involved in WOW when I hear the occasional blow by blow account of her raids or other exploits.

And there we have it, my gameplan:

  1. Form a strong, stone wall type defensive game of website, blog and plugin development. No prisoners.
  2. Once the defenses are secured, liberate yourself with an easy passing game full of riddles and puzzles. Show your opponents the secret world. Add some running plays to mix it up a little.
  3. If things get boring or the front lines are dug in deep, try to open things up with a reverse run by Guildwars 2. Don’t hesitate to use the tight end.
  4. WoW and Vanguard remain benched until somebody gets hurt or once couple of weeks have passed.

Now that I think of it, the football season starts in three weeks, which could slow me down, too. — Not really. I am German and I have no idea what I am talking about when it comes to football. The above gameplan is complete fantasy and I apologize to all true fans of the game.

In case you haven’t seen my company’s logo, or aren’t subscribed to Scarybooster’s Scary Worlds. Here it is one more time:

Websites, Blogs, Plugin Development

 

I got those nice football strategies through flickr from Avinash Kunnath. Find the originals here, here and here.


© Disclaimer: Guildwars 2
© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

© Disclaimer: The Secret World
"The Secret World" is a registered trademark of Funcom GmbH. All logos, images and names are intellectual properties of Funcom GmBH unless otherwise noted. This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with Funcom GmbH.

© Disclaimer: Vanguard
© Disclaimer: World of Warcraft

Read More

Just In: Guildwars 2 Release Date: Aug, 28, 2012

Posted by on Jun 28, 2012 in Guildwars 2 | 0 comments

Guildwars 2Arena Net just announced the Release Date for Guildwars 2 on their Arena Net Blog : Aug, 28th, 2012. We all have been waiting for this for a long time, but I personally didn’t expect it in August. Somehow I got the impression for it to take another three month or so. But that was just a gut feeling, not backed up by hard facts.

Arena Net will spend most of the time until the release with optimizing, balancing and with bug fixes. I doubt they will touch any new feature until then. It would just be irresponsible software development if they did.

Additionally, they announced a final Beta Weekend for July, 20 – 22.


© Disclaimer: Guildwars 2
© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


Read More

Short Status Update Adsense and NBIMMO

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Blog, Guildwars 2 | 1 comment

Maybe a quick status update is in order. My Adsense account is restored. Late afternoon yesterday ads started to reappear. My only conclusion is that the removal of the offending article brought the expected results. I still haven’t gotten any notification from Google. Thus, I am just guessing. It’s on today’s list to do some more research on probable causes. There’s a slight chance that a unconfirmed phone number associated with my account caused this, but it has been unconfirmed for more than 2 years.

Having the Adsense trouble off my plate is a good thing, since I can now focus on NBIMMO, the New Blogger Initative that got started yesterday. One of the things I did last night was to sign up for about 100 blogs on my RSS reader, 80 sponsor blogs and 20 new blogs. I also followed them on twitter if there was an ID posted. I’ve now started to actually read / scan those blogs. The idea is to hook up more with the community, just like it is the intention of NBIMMO.

 


© Disclaimer: Guildwars 2
© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


Read More

OCD? Don’t Play Guildwars 2

Posted by on Apr 29, 2012 in Guildwars 2, World of Warcraft | 3 comments

Is that bag to the left making you nervous? Do you think something is odd about it? Do you you consider 22 an odd number? Have you ever scaled back to 20 slots because you just couldn’t stand having them in your inventory?

Does it make you nervous that we are talking about bag size? Maybe it helps if I come out of the closet and admit to my sins. I haven’t downgraded to 20 slots, but I have been annoyed by the number of bag slots since I saw my first 10 slot bag. For the 6 slot bags, the availability of slots far outweighed my OCD impulses. Besides, the pain didn’t last to long, since you could upgrade them with relative ease. Eight and 12 slots made me happy, but I used 14 slots for way to long.

And here comes trouble. Guildwars 2 has a main bag with 20 slots and allows for 4 more bags. The first ones you can loot or buy from a vendor are 4 slot bags. Except… If you get “lucky”, this will happen to you. When I picked it up, I saw the 5 slots in the tool tip. “Woohoo !” And then I put it in the inventory. I told my wive that ArenaNet will make a lot of players very unhappy with 5 slot bags. How dare they? They are programmers and geeks ! They ought to have the same problems and preferences as their players. Perhaps they can blame it on somebody from marketing.

And then I’ll find a 7 slot bag. Somebody please tell me I can resize the bag window.

 

(Edit) That’s what I am left with, if I untick “bags”. Still hurts.


© Disclaimer: Guildwars 2
© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

© Disclaimer: World of Warcraft

Read More

Barfight

Posted by on Apr 28, 2012 in Guildwars 2 | 0 comments

It took me a while to get playing, since I had graphics trouble. I could get into the game right after character creation, but my screen was mostly black, green or blue. Playing around with the settings would fix it for a while. However, there were still spots in the human starting area where the problem reappeared. Eventually I found a forum post telling me that the graphic card should be set to allow the application to set anti-aliasing parameters, something not to many gaming apps actually do. I may have some collisions with other games eventually. I didn’t get access to the forum posts right away, since those were lagging out as well. Since I played in the closed beta, I had to keep my old server, named “Borli’s Pass”

As for actual play, I created a Charr thief, but I just don’t like that race. On top of it, things were chaotic and laggy, which made me create a human thief named Shamble. The lag in the human starter area wasn’t less than the lag on the Charr side, but the area quests were a bit more straight forward. I got to level 4 quickly, somewhat annoyed by my own overblown heroism in the cut scenes, but everything else seems okay. I made it into town, to meet up with my old friend Petra who’s a server in her dad’s tavern. And got promptly into a scripted barfight. Smack a few ruffians around, make a few more surrender and finally duel their boss. And way to late I find those bottles standing around in the tavern, ready to be picked up:

Once you pick up the bottle, the action bar changes and gives you 3 options: Bash, drink or throw. This is possible with many other items you find throughout the game world. I’ve found a garden hoe and a shovel on one of the farms and they could be used as improvised weapons. The Charr players will have to pick up mortar shells and some mini games use this feature to grab fish to feed a bear or to pick up some bags and defend them against attack rabbits. Weapons you find in game are treated with a slight difference: the 3 options aren’t available immediately. They have to be trained by using the weapon.

I am having fun despite the lag and random guild invite spam. And now I am off to play some more.


© Disclaimer: Guildwars 2
© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


Read More
Page 1 of 212
css.php