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This thread has been responded to by a Blizzard representativeTopic:  | 12/11/2005 9:18:51 AM PST 
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Caydiem View All Posts by This User
Blizzard Poster
 1. A Statement on Our Hack-Scanning Process | 8/23/2005 1:06:12 PM PDT
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There’s some misinformation that’s going around in regard to the hack-scanning process (not a separate program) that we run within the World of Warcraft executable, so we’d like to take this opportunity to help clarify things for our players. First off, please note that our reluctance to discuss this issue is because in order to stay one step ahead of hackers, we have to be extremely careful in regard to what information we reveal about our security measures. Otherwise, we run the risk of revealing too much information and the hackers then being able to circumvent these security measures. This would of course defeat the purpose and leave World of Warcraft exposed to those relatively few unscrupulous players who want to cheat and ruin the experience for the millions of legitimate players.

Legally speaking, the scans are not a violation of rights. Understandably, that’s beside the point for the people who are concerned about our security measures. What those players seem to be concerned about is whether the hack scans are ethically appropriate. To address those concerns, we’d like to make it clear that the scan does not review or retrieve anything that’s personally identifiable. For example, the data that the scans read is not data that says, “This is John Doe’s computer. John lives at 123 ABC Drive, his phone number is ABC, his personal interests are XYZ, he has ABC friends, and he sent XYZ emails yesterday.” Again, we can’t get into what specifically it does look at, but we can say that all it tells us is whether a computer is hacking World of Warcraft. If the scan alerts us that hacking is taking place, we take action against the account, basically cutting off the access of that account to the game. Note that we have absolutely no need for any personal information from the player’s machine to take that action. That is, we can completely do our job and shut down a cheater’s account without gathering any personal data from his or her computer. Again, we have no use or desire for any personally identifying information that a player may have on his or her computer, and this particular security measure we have in place for World of Warcraft does not look at any such information on a player’s computer.

Some players have also raised the concern that this security measure slows down their computers. The process that World of Warcraft runs to protect itself has less of an impact on a computer’s performance than opening an all-text Web page or a single email.

As many players have noted, this security measure—designed wholly to protect the game itself and legitimate players from the actions of cheaters—is very similar to the security measures used by other online games for the same purpose. Punkbuster is one such example that players have pointed out. Our intent is not to deceive anyone—even those few players set on cheating in World of Warcraft. This is why we present the Terms of Use every time the game is updated and give players the choice of whether they want to play by the rules that we’ve established to keep the game fair for everyone. We would not want to lose any players over this concern, but ultimately, we feel we would run a greater risk of losing even more players if we did not provide for the game’s security. We hope that after carefully reading each updated version of the Terms of Use, players decide they want to agree to those terms and continue playing World of Warcraft. Hopefully this further addresses the concerns of those who have them, and we appreciate the support of the many players who helped to independently shed light on things for their fellow players.

As with any controversial or non-controversial topic related to World of Warcraft, we have no problem with players openly discussing their feelings about this issue in our forums. We do ask, however, that players with opposing perspectives remain civil and adhere to the Forum Code of Conduct, as we will continue to moderate the forums in accordance with that.
- Caydiem -
/moo
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