Feeds

Diablo2 publisher hacked following ‘spyware’ outrage

All of Blizzard.com, Battle.net down

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Diablo2 maker Blizzard Entertainment has seen its Web sites, including Battle.net, disabled today -- an act curiously timed, since it recently altered its terms of service (ToS) to take full advantage of patch 1.06, which contains a mechanism enabling the company to monitor Battle.net users for duplicate items and disable them.

The legal move created a storm of controversy among German players, who claim the new ToS document violates German law. Players are equally ticked off about the actual technology in 1.06, which is believed to be capable of a good deal more system snooping than the company allows.

According to a German source, the tasks in 1.06 range all the way to scanning the complete hard disk and the registry.

This would of course be necessary to find evidence of cracks; what concerns players is what other uses the company might be tempted to apply the technology towards.

The only use for the spyware is to search for "a few very rare items" and eliminate dupes to make cheating more difficult, Blizzard told us.

Because users' games are saved on the company's network, players are questioning why Blizzard needs to be reading and altering files on individual machines.

Regardless of whether users agree to be monitored, the practice may not pass legal muster with European authorities. "The German bureau of data-security says that the current ToS is illegal, in Germany and most all EU-countries," German Battle.net gamer "Kublai-Khan" told The Register.

Blizzard "can say what they want; but if they leave the current ToS unchanged, it's possible they'll have a nice run in court. Even their European partner Vivendi is not amused about Blizzard's ToS," he added.

With this dispute as a backdrop, today's hack might strike some as more than a coincidence. ®

Related Link

Eurotux.de backgrounder (auf Deutsch)

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.