I’ve done (more than) my fair share of conspiracy theorizing and Bobby’s Eyes jokes, but there’s speculation, there’s satire, and there’s outright tin foil hatism. I think this editorial on Decrypted Tech crosses the last line by quite a ways.
The editorial references the ongoing “hacked” Diablo III accounts, demands that Blizzard reveal just how so many supposedly tech-savvy users are getting ripped off, speculates that there are dark secrets and Battle.net security issues they’re not telling us about, and connects that to the cruelly-mercenary way that Activision fired the lead devs of Modern Warfare 2 shortly after that game’s record launch, in a move widely-believed to be motivated by a desire to 1) take full control over the game series to turn it into a yearly commodity, and 2) sack the men responsible for the game’s massive success before they became eligible for huge bonus royalty payments.
Here’s a quote: read the whole thing if you dare.
On the one hand we have already told you about Blizzard’s heavy handed approach to the rather large number of hacked accounts. This has been in the news enough that we do not need to go into too much detail, but it is important to flesh things out. Blizzard made the decision to make Diablo III an online game only. This is due to their DRM scheme that requires you to connect to their server to verify the game is legit (even in single player mode). Since the launch of the game, thousands of users have claimed that their accounts have been hacked (even players running the single player mode). Blizzard’s response to this has been pretty much cookie cutter: It is your fault your account was compromised.
Many are beginning to feel that Blizzard does not want to admit there is anything wrong, but would rather stick to the story that it is all the end user’s fault. This means that they do not have to refund the price of the game on a large scale, face the costs and time of a rewrite/global fix of the system, and also remove liability for the loss of virtual items that users might have paid for. The fact that they have shelved the real merchandise auction house is a good indicator of this.
The second item that could stand alone is the litigation between Activision and the former heads of Infinity Ward; Jason West and Vince Zampella. According to the timeline West and Zampella were fired by Activision for insubordination. Activision claims they were going to setup a new gaming company with the help of EA Games. West and Zampella claim that this was not the case, but that Activision fired them to avoid paying the large bonuses and royalties they were due from Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. The timing of the layoff is suspicious as it happened right after Modern Warfare 2 was delivered and while West and Zampella were operating on a contract extension.
Connecting it to the dual beheading of Infinity Ward is a stroke of conspiratorial evil genius, but that editorial is not alone in demanding that Blizzard be more forthcoming in their disclosures over the Diablo III account “hacking.” Besides umpteen angry forum posters, there’s this editorial at Gaming Blend.
The best info we’ve seen from Blizzard about the hacking came from one of their tech support guys, and you can see it summarized and quoted in this post from a couple of days ago.
So what do you guys think? Is Blizzard saying, “use an authenticator” enough? Should they share more details about what’s happening? Bashiok made a couple of replies in a post on this issue last night, and you can click through to read them, though he doesn’t say anything we haven’t heard before.
Bashiok: We’ve made multiple statements, the latest of which is the bottom-most sticky in this very forum.
In addition to verifying all compromises have been through someone’s password being stolen, and that no instances of a mobile/physical authenticator being attached before a compromise took place, we’re seeing compromise claims on the same general scale as a World of Warcraft expansion launch. The fact that far more people are playing Diablo III that have never been exposed to the concept of an account theft likely correlates with the seemingly bigger impact. World of Warcraft players, for example, has a CS forum where most compromise claims are posted (Diablo III does not have such a forum so most are posted in General), which is in addition to World of Warcraft players just being more acquainted with the concept and steps to correct it than… say StarCraft II players that picked up Diablo III.
…I really don’t care to point blame, or decide who as at fault, or argue theories about what may or may not have happened. We’ve said what we know to be true, and that’s that.
All I want is for you to take your account security seriously. Follow the steps, and do everything you can to be aware of the links you’re clicking on, programs you’re downloading, where else your same account and password may be used, and the websites you’re logging into. If you do all that then I don’t mind being called a corporate shill or liar or whatever, just please don’t take your account security for granted.