Feeds

To fel with you! There's an NSA spook in my World of Warcraft

By the blood elves of Azeroth... I'll bash that TROLL to BITS!

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The NSA placed spies in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft in a bid to tackle info-swapping terrorists, it has emerged.

According to the latest leaked document published by The Guardian, spooks were stationed in the virtual world of Azeroth and told to “hide in plain sight".

The NSA briefing note (PDF) was written in 2008 and is titled "Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments".

It warned that online games were a "target-rich communications network" which allow terrorists to meet and communicate securely. Some games effectively act as virtual private networks allowing dozens of terrorists to speak securely to each other, the NSA claimed.

At one point there were so many spooks playing Warcraft and other virtual reality games like Second Life, that the NSA had to set up a "de-confliction" team to make sure the teams didn't end up spying on each other.

“Al-Qaeda terrorist target selectors… have been found associated with XboxLive, Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other GVEs [Games and Virtual Environments]," the document said. "Other targets include Chinese hackers, an Iranian nuclear scientist, Hezbollah and Hamas members.”

The NSA documents also suggest that GCHQ made a "vigorous effort" to produce exploitation modules in Xbox Live and World of Warcraft.

Blizzard, the makers of WoW, denied allowing spooks to penetrate their world.

"We are unaware of any surveillance taking place," a spokesman for Blizzard Entertainment said. "If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission."

Microsoft and Second Life devs Linden Lab declined to comment on the claims. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
WTF happened to Pac-Man?
In his thirties and still afraid of ghosts
Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics
LightwaveRF and Arduino: Bright ideas for dim DIYers
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Apple patent LOCKS drivers out of their OWN PHONES
I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't let you text that
Microsoft signs Motorola to Android patent pact – no, not THAT Motorola
The part that Google never got will play ball with Redmond
Happy 25th birthday, Game Boy!
Monochrome handset ushered in modern mobile gaming era
Slip your finger in this ring and unlock your backdoor, phone, etc
Take a look at this new NFC jewellery – why, what were you thinking of?
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.