This Blog Azeroth Shared Topic was brought to you by Tarinae.

“Blizzard has been on the fast track to promoting account security lately. They all new options for when accounts are compromised, they offered pets for authenticators, they made several posted awareness sheets, etc.

But running parallel to that is the amount of gold sellers we see.

I have seen two of my guildmates hacked already this year by devastatingly experienced hackers. I was going to construct a post about the ugly truth behind gold buying. Do I know anyone who buys gold? No, but I know people who suffer the consequences. I did it once…referring to the fact that I suffered the consequences of someone else taking my items and money to give to someone else. I was the victim not the gold buyer.

I want to try to make sure people are aware of what happens when a gold seller needs to fill an order…they don’t create this stuff out of thin air.

So I thought I would promote it as a shared topic so you can share any (hacking or other) experiences you have to help raise awareness. People expect blizzard to say this stuff…but we are just players….real players with real experiences.”

A while ago I planned to write a post about authenticators and why it will always be worth owning one and why. It seems to have been pushed back by a bunch of post ideas in my drafts, as always happens, so, let’s take a look.

In my first guild back in TBC, we were in Karazhan and my boyfriend at the time claimed a disconnect over vent. He tried to log back in, but we pointed out that his character was hearthing. I think a couple of us yelled at the person on his character, my little naive mind assumed that they would react with “Oh crap, they caught me, run and hide!” But of course, that’s not realistic, they carried on. The one being hacked quickly changed his password and managed to get the guy off of his account. He lost a few things, but he was pretty lucky.

Quite early on in Wrath, one of the guild’s officers was hacked. The guild bank was cleared out, and this happened twice. A few weeks later, our prot paladin was also hacked. His character was used for roughly 2 days before the account could be locked, it was constantly in Wintergrasp, so they were either using his character to farm, or they really liked PvPing with other people’s characters.

This all begs the question: are gold sellers hacking? Or is most of the hacking coming from another source? I’m sure we’ve all seen them farming away, Whelplings, Borean Leather, I’ve even seen them farming Hippogryphs in Feralas in the past, but how can we tell who’s actually hacking? Well for starters, the example above is very good evidence towards gold sellers hacking accounts to use. The most likely thing they could have been doing was using the level 80 character to farm eternals to sell. The hacked accounts themselves can be used as a great source of instant gold, selling gear and items and trading the gold to another account. It can be used to farm items to sell for further profits. They can use the account to whisper and trade people, which cannot be done from a trial account. Not to mention they will 9 times out of 10 have access to a high level character without all of the time and effort put into leveling and gearing. There probably are some out there who hack for malicious reasons, but the main cause, as far as I can see, will be gold sellers.

They ruin the economy. How many times have you seen stacks of Borean Leather and other things on the auction house for ridiculously low prices, sold by Wxrycd? Blue Whelplings for 150g? If I can, I try to gank them when I see them, anything to hold them up. I found one in Scholazar Basin a while back, there were a few characteristics you can pick up on to tell if somebody is or isn’t a farmer. Do they emote you? If they wave, smile, or something along those lines, often the interaction will throw people off, but don’t be fooled, it’s one of their tricks. How keyboard mashy does their name sound? Are they guildless, or perhaps in a guild you’ve never heard of? If they’re an enemy, if you place yourself next to them, do they ignore you, kill, loot, skin, keyboard turn away and rinse and repeat? They’ll be fairly slow with their movements and will usually be Hunters or Death Knights. Ganking them and reporting them are great ways to do your bit. Of course, this isn’t going to make people’s accounts any more secure, but let’s call it vengeance.

If you don’t have an authenticator, why not? Blizzard have done plenty to make them more accessible, they’ve made them cheaper, made them available for iPhones, they even come with a cute little Core Hound puppy now, so if you don’t have one, what’s your excuse? Don’t think using NoScript is safe enough, don’t think an over complicated password is safe enough, if you don’t have an authenticator, they can hack you and attach one to your account, making it even more difficult to regain access. Sounds fun, yes? Thought not. You can never be safe enough. I deeply recommend you get one. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.