The AVG antivirus maker posted a press release warning about hacks in game hacks, and since their PR spoke specifically about Diablo 3 hacks, here’s a quote:
In a quick test, AVG’s researchers searched FileCrop for a Diablo 3 hack, one of the most popular ‘swords and sorcery’ games on the market. The FileCrop search result listed more than 40 hacks, all temptingly titled to encourage users looking for the greatest in-game rewards and benefits. For the biggest titles, such as World of Warcraft or Minecraft, a similar FileCrop search reveals hundreds of hacks.
At random, the team selected and downloaded a file called ‘Diablo 3 Item generator and gold hack.zip’. After downloading and unpacking the file, the team’s installed AVG Internet Security software immediately detected malicious code in the hack itself.
What damage can they do?
Left to do its dirty work, this malicious code would attempt to decrypt the saved website passwords stored in the machine’s web browser keypass. Any sensitive information it found would then be sent back to the attacker via email.
However, it could also mean you lose your game account altogether: attackers can profit from the theft by trading the accounts online in exchange for cash. A registered user account could cost hundreds of dollars and hours of gameplay to replace, while in-game purchases (power-ups, weapons, equipment, etc.) may be lost or sold before the user has a chance to contact the game developer and reclaim their hacked account. This would be in addition to the more common objective of malware – stealing bank account details, hacking email accounts or accessing social networks.
This is the sort of thing Blizzard warns about all the time, so let a computer security firm add weight to the argument. Or do would-be cheaters deserve to be punished and hacked for their efforts, and thus warnings are misguided?