Feeds

Blizzard pwned: Gamers' email, encrypted passwords slurped

Millions of World of Warcraft players raided

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Blizzard Entertainment, which makes World of Warcraft, Diablo III and other games, has coughed to a security breach of its internal network. Email addresses, answers to security questions and encrypted passwords linked to player accounts are believed to have been lifted by hackers.

The gaming outfit said in a lengthy statement on its website that its security team had spotted "unauthorised and illegal access" into its system.

It said: "We quickly took steps to close off this access and began working with law enforcement and security experts to investigate what happened."

Blizzard said it was yet to uncover evidence that sensitive financial data, including gamers' credit cards and billing addresses, had been compromised. "Our investigation is ongoing, but so far nothing suggests that these pieces of information have been accessed," the company added.

However, a list of email addresses for Battle.net users across the globe, excluding those based in China, had been lifted in the hacking. And it gets worse:

For players on North American servers (which generally includes players from North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia) the answer to the personal security question, and information relating to Mobile and Dial-In Authenticators were also accessed. Based on what we currently know, this information alone is NOT enough for anyone to gain access to Battle.net accounts.

Blizzard, whose Battle.net service requires gamers to be online while they cast spells and argue over items, eased the pain a little bit:

We also know that cryptographically scrambled versions of Battle.net passwords (not actual passwords) for players on North American servers were taken. We use Secure Remote Password protocol (SRP) to protect these passwords, which is designed to make it extremely difficult to extract the actual password, and also means that each password would have to be deciphered individually.

Stamford University's Thomas Wu explained in a paper about SRP that an "attacker who captures the password database cannot use it directly to compromise security and gain immediate access to the host".

Despite Blizzard's reassurance to its users, the gaming firm went on to warn:

As a precaution, however, we recommend that players on North American servers change their password. Please click this link to change your password. Moreover, if you have used the same or similar passwords for other purposes, you may want to consider changing those passwords as well.

Blizzard also plans to automatically prompt its players on North American servers to change their secret questions and answers. It will also nudge its mobile authenticator users, who use a phone-based two-factor authentication system to log into Battle.net.

The company signed off with a snivelling apology: "We take the security of your personal information very seriously, and we are truly sorry that this has happened."

Blizzard has a detailed FAQ about how its network was compromised here. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.