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WoW authenticators bypassed by middlemen hackers

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Crooks have developed a man-in-the-middle-attack designed to circumvent authentication kit used by dedicated World of Warcraft gamers.

The ruse relies on tricking gamers into installing Trojans disguised as gaming ad-ons. Once applied the malware allows hackers to capture and relay authentication commands next time a victim logs on to Blizzard's servers.

The hackers divert and then relay authentication commands before looting gaming accounts for virtual gold, presumably for resale. Meanwhile the results of a failed login are played back to victims, effectively locking them out of their compromised accounts for at least the time needed to pull off the scam.

Trojans targeting online gaming accounts are commonplace, especially in east Asia, but attempts to circumvent two-factor logins to online gaming accounts represent a new twist of added sophistication.

The WoW account pwn attack is explained in a blog post by Sunbelt Software here, which links to forum entries on the assault on Blizzard's official Warcraft forum such as this one here.

The approach of the gaming fraudsters is broadly similar to man-in-the-middle attacks against online banking accounts, where users are obliged to input a code generated by an authentication device as well as their password. Such an approach does offer added security for online banking but is by no means bulletproof, as attacks that have been ongoing for at least four years serve to illustrate. ®

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