Blizzard Responds to Diablo 3 Account Hacks

On Tuesday Diablo 3 community manager Bashiok hit the forums and responded to numerous complaints about the loss of gold and items due to account hacking. In short, Blizzard is blaming the problem on passwords that aren't backed up by an official authenticator.

"We've been taking the situation extremely seriously from the start, and have done everything possible to verify how and in what circumstances these compromises are occurring," Bashiok writes. "Despite the claims and theories being made, we have yet to find any situations in which a person's account was not compromised through traditional means of someone else logging into their account through the use of their password."

But Bashiok also verifies that the authenticator isn't a 100-percent guarantee of account security. "We have yet to investigate a compromise report in which an authenticator was attached beforehand," he adds. "If your account has been hacked, please view the previous post for information on contacting our support department."

As pointed out on Monday, Diablo 3 players are reporting hacks on both sides of the authenticator fence. They have also been able to watch the hacking take place in real time while taking screenshots in the process. Even Examiner journalist Tara Swadley saw her gold and character items drained after using a authenticator.

"This reporter, after having her own account with authenticator hacked, firmly believes this is a serious security breach on Blizzard’s side, though they either do not want to admit it, or are still unaware of the problem," she writes. As hanted to on Monday, there's speculation that this flood of hacking is just a prelude to what's to come once Blizzard launches the real-money auction house next week.

In addition to Bashiok's forum post, another lengthy statement was issued around midnight EST. Blizzard says it isn't uncommon to see increased reports of hacking when a new game or expansion pack is released. Users are suggested to check out the company's new SMS Protect which allows customers to use their text-based smartphone to modify their account.

"Historically, the release of a new game -- such as a World of Warcraft® expansion -- will result in an increase in reports of individual account compromises, and that's exactly what we're seeing now with Diablo 3," Blizzard states. "We know how frustrating it can be to become the victim of account theft, and as always, we're dedicated to doing everything we can to help our players keep their accounts safe -- and we appreciate everyone who's doing their part to help protect their accounts as well."

"We also wanted to reassure you that the Authenticator and Mobile Authenticator (a free app for iPhone and Android devices) continue to be some of the most effective measures we offer to help players protect themselves against account compromises, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of them," Blizzard adds.

Currently one hacking theory suggests that an exploit allows for session hijacking. "You will lose connection to the game," reports Frobozz as he describes what will happen when the account is hijacked. "This can result in just the 'Lost connection to server' error message or no message at all."

"A good sign that the connection loss is a hijack attempt and not just a server error is if you are also having trouble surfing the web (i.e. slow connections, or can't load pages)," he continues. "People are reporting that their IP is getting DDOSed to prevent them from relogging into Diablo 3 and thus getting a new session and stopping the attack."

  • Either it is the lack of an authenticator or Blizzard just put their foot into their mouth. It would be most amusing it were the latter. Maybe then they would stop thinking that their system as it is, is flawless.
  • SinisterSalad
    Allowing offline use would be the best way to counter this.
  • seroism
    Blizzard knows it's happening but doesn't want to acknowledge it. They're trying desperately to fix the problem before the RMAH is launched. My money is on the hackers....
  • DoofusOfDeath
    Would the man-in-the-middle attack be avoided if D3 used SSL ?
  • DroKing
    Why are they talking out of their asses? They've had WoW for how long? Enough said.
  • djscribbles
    Some of the rumors floating around point to joining a public game (which gives the hacker access to your session id, which he can then spoof) as being all that is needed to be hacked.
    Maybe true, maybe not, but I'm not going to go try to find any new friends until this dies down.

    Another rumored cause is people infected with malware that lets a hacker use their PC as a proxy server to bypass their authenticator which is configured to "not ask every time" mode, the hacker would be able to login without authentication because the request is coming from the victims own infected PC.

    Personally, I think this is a huge risk to blizzards reputation, I sure hope they are willing to admit if the vulnerability is on their side, and get it fixed soon. Personally I think this seems way too 'big' to be a bunch of schmoes with PC's loaded with malware, but it would be possible they have been saving up a big list of targets, as battlenet accounts were around long before diablo3 launched, and there is likely a large intersection between diablo3 players, wow players, and SC3 players.
  • bgaimur

    This picture sums up the entire situation. By the way, that picture proves it's Blizzard's fault.
  • maxinexus
    Play with the someone you know.
  • bgaimur
    DoofusOfDeathWould the man-in-the-middle attack be avoided if D3 used SSL ?Using SSL on a d3 session would be about as useful as putting a password on a telnet session. If you need to ask why, just take my word for it. No.
  • spookyman
    Its a shame you can play this game like the original Diablo. It was great to play on a local area network at work and play with friends without having to log on to the internet.

    As for the account problems. How hard is it to secure your account?

    Could they use WoW as a guide on account security.