Monday, October 12, 2009
Blizzard sabotages WoW account security
Currently you can't possibly know my World of Warcraft account name (Hint: It is *not* Tobold). The WoW account name is something that doesn't appear anywhere in your public information, and so to hack somebody's account you would need to guess *both* his account name and his password. As this is tedious for hackers, Blizzard decided to help them out: Your WoW account name will become invalid on November 12th. You will be forced to merge your WoW account into a Battle.net account. And the Battle.net account name, wait for it, will be your e-mail address. I don't know about you, but there are a *lot* of people who have my e-mail address. It is a lot easier to get hold of somebody's e-mail address than to find out his secret WoW account name. Thus in future hackers will only need to guess passwords, a massive decline in account security. I'm pretty sure Blizzard will regret that soon, and then force us all to use authenticators.
If you are worried about account security, I'd recommend creating a new e-mail account on one of the many free webmail services. Don't tell anyone that e-mail address and use it exclusively to create a Battle.net account to merge your World of Warcraft account with. That's what I will do.
Even if Blizzard hands out penguin pets as reward for merging, I don't think the enforced Battle.net account is a good idea. Apart from the danger to account security, there will certainly be hundreds of thousands of players, if not millions, who'll fail to notice that they have to merge their accounts, and who'll find themselves locked out on November 12th. Then they'll all bombard Blizzard customer service with "Waaaaagh! My WoW account isn't working any more!" complaints. And then they'll all try to get a Battle.net account on the same day, which with a 87.3% probability will happen to crash on November 12th.
If you happen to be an employee of Blizzard's customer service, may I recommend taking holiday on the week of November 12th? It'll be hell at work!