What can your bank learn from World of Warcraft?

Published on July 06, 2010

What can your bank learn from World of Warcraft?

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    Online multiplayer games have become a big business, not just for gaming companies. There are "clandestine" markets where people spend real money on acquiring virtual items that can provide them with an advantage in their favorite online game. And this is despite the fact that in many multiplayer games to engage in such activities is strictly prohibited by the rules. But that is not the main problem. After all, where real money is exchanged, theft and fraud that are more familiar to real life often occur.

    But why do people exchange their hard earned, honestly earned money for virtual goods that they cannot possess outside the game? The fact is that in multiplayer online games, in order to get the most powerful character and thereby get to more interesting in-game content, you have to spend a lot of time to “pump” the level of your Alter ego, develop its skills and gain access to the best virtual things.

    Naturally, not everyone can spend their free time "pumping" a character. The so-called "Golden Farmers" are known mainly for the disgusting habit of loudly advertising their services by far from the most honest methods, and many newcomers use their services, pay them real money, without even realizing that they are doing something against the rules. Many of these "farmers" at the present time are people from developing countries who "work" all day, playing online games and earning virtual currency in them and items that they later sell for ordinary money to ordinary players. You can even get ready-made "pumped" characters, immediately having a high level, so you do not have to spend time to do it yourself.
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    Naturally, people began to appear right away who received "gold", objects and characters in the development of which were invested for many months, simply by stealing them, and then sold all this to other players. Game accounts are often hacked in the most popular multiplayer games, for example, such as World of Warcraft, in connection with which the creators of the game, Blizzard, even created a special portal to educate players on how to protect themselves from this scourge.

    One way to protect your WoW account is through Authentication. You can purchase it in the form of a special keychain or download the mobile version for many models of phones and communicators. The security problem became so serious that Blizzard stopped charging for the delivery of these devices.
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    Once having received your authenticator, you log into the Battle.net system (the main account server for all Blizzard games), and ask to associate a keychain or mobile application with your account. You will be asked to use the authenticator to generate a special code (with a simple click of a button) and enter this code into the form on the site. From now on, you will be able to log into your gaming account by entering a password and generating a code using a personal authenticator. Each time this code is different, so spyware (keyloggers) that can “steal” your password will be powerless against such a code.
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    Looking at this level of security, which is used to protect virtual items and the difficult work of “pumping” a character, one involuntarily wonders why such an equally valuable thing as real bank accounts are not protected in this way? Why aren’t any similar solutions used to add an extra layer of security when accessing online personal bank account management systems, for example? Or something that could save credit card or bank account information for easy access (like PayPal).

    It is unlikely that anyone will want to wear a huge bunch of authenticator trinkets. If someone would take this idea as a basis and launch a service that would allow organizations to configure a system of access to their sites using one authenticator (say it would be one keychain for access to online banking, PayPal, accounts on Internet sites stores, game accounts), then cases of account loss in such systems would become less common.
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    Of course, this idea carries new problems, for the solution of which you will have to contact the technical support service and some more serious ones, such as the loss of the authenticator. But you must admit that it’s not entirely correct that more serious and simpler security measures are used for protecting an account in an online game than for bank accounts in your bank.

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