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Despite employing every defensive measure in her personal arsenal,
Karen "Shayalyn" Hertzberg's NCsoft account was hacked.
Gold spammers and hackers are everywhere, with phishing email
coming in at a rate of at least 10 to 1 over official game email. Even
the most savvy aren't necessarily safe. Read about it in href="http://tentonhammer.com/loading/2010/aug/4">Loading...
A Cautionary Tale.



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Loading... Daily

A gaming editor can only maintain so many accounts, and I let my style="font-style: italic;">Aion account lapse
a while back. But last week I got an email inviting me to play style="font-style: italic;"
href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aion">Aion free
for the weekend. I've been dabbling playing a mix of old and new games
lately, so I gave the idea of getting my Daeva on
some consideration. I asked my fellow editors whether they'd
be checking out Aion,
and they told me they were going to wait for its free expansion, href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aion/features/editorials/assault-on-balaurea">Assault
on Balaurea. So, because I like to behave contrary to however
The Boys behave, I fired up my NCsoft patcher and prepared for
a weekend in Atreia.

Imagine my disappointment when I logged in and was told there
was something wrong with the credit card attached to my account. I
wasn't supposed to need a credit card to play. So I meandered over to
check out my NCsoft account--perhaps all I needed to do was update some
credit card information after all. Annoying, yes, but what the hell,
I'd still get to play some Aion.

When I hit the link to check my account status I saw big red letters
next to the name on my Aion account: style="color: rgb(204, 0, 0);">BANNED.

Banned? WTF? I was stunned and confused. I certainly hadn't been
spamming gold sales in Atreia. (I may have made a face at an attacking
Asmodian, but he was
attacking me, after all.) The only conclusion I could come to was that
my account had been hacked. And how it was hacked probably had
something to do with the keylogger I cleaned from my system just over a
month ago. How the keylogger found its way to my well-protected drive
is still a mystery to me.

I consider myself reasonably self-protective on the Internet. I change
passwords frequently, and I work to create strong
ones. I view every email I get telling me to login to an account
somewhere, and providing me a link to said account, as a phishing
attempt. I received many such phishing emails from hackers
impersonating NCsoft in broken English telling me that if I didn't log
into my account and verify my information I would be banned.
Rather than ignore them, I would use them as a reminder to open my
browser, type in NCsoft's URL manually, and change my password yet

And still someone got in. When I wrote to NCsoft support they responded
quickly and asked me to verify some information that only I should
know. Once they'd ascertained that I was who I claimed to be, the kind
folks in support passed my ticket along to their Game Surveillance
Unit. The folks in Game Surveillance confirmed that my account had been
"compromised by a third party," and sent me along to a kind GM who
reset my passwords once again and had me jump through various hoops in
order to re-secure my account.

I'm ready to play Aion again whenever I choose, but I did miss the free
weekend, all because some gold selling hacker thought my level
20-something Elyos might be useful somehow. I haven't logged in yet to
survey the damage yet. Personally, I'm pissed off and confused--I did
everything I needed to do to protect my account, and yet somehow it was
breached. Despite virus protection, my son and I both ended up with
viruses which spread via our home network. (Unfortunately, I think they
initiated  with his laptop, but I've trained him to be pretty
'Net savvy, too. This stuff is insidious.)

All of us who play MMOGs are more familiar than we want to be with in
game gold seller spam, phishing emails and more from hidden bandits
lurking along the roadside waiting to hijack our accounts and strip the
characters we've worked hard to develop and outfit. And as much as we
try to defend ourselves, it's sometimes not enough. The savvier we get,
the sneakier they get. And the battle rages on. As long as there are
MMOGs with in game economies there will be gold sellers and hackers.
Developers have taken great strides to help us protect our private
account information, but our security is still breached.

We fight hackers and gold sellers with all of the defense measures we
have in our arsenals, both on the dev side and the client side. What
more can be done? What element are we missing? Who's still buying in
game gold and making gold selling viable enough for hackers to keep
coming up with devious ways to compromise our accounts? Share
your thoughts and stories in the href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=52699">Loading...

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=668">WoW
Cataclysm Discussion Forum

Come Cataclysm.... What class you rolling?

It's a pretty simple question our newish member, Pappicious, is
asking--when Cataclysm launches, which race/class will you roll? Share
your answers href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=52691">right


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

"Worgen Rogue, Hunter or
Warrior most likely. I will also probably be bringing my Boomkin to 85.

know Worgens will be overplayed, but in truth without them I would not
resubscribe to WoW. They are the novelty of the expansion for me, not
the Cataclysm.

 - href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showpost.php?p=438212&postcount=6">WZT


and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

2 new and exclusive
Ten Ton Hammer
today!  21 Ten Ton Hammer
in August! 837
in 2010!


3D Audio Arrives! A
Review of Dolby Axon


is the key to online gaming. Now, audio communication takes a massive
3D step forward with the release of Dolby Axon. Ten Ton Hammer looks at
the good and the bad of venturing into this 3D audio world with Dolby


Exclusive Serpent Lantern
Interview with Champions Online Executive Producer Shannon Posniewski


Online went through a few changes with its Serpent Lantern update,
which introduced new content, a difficulty increase for VIPER along
with new adversaries, and some useful new features. One popular new
feature that has been added allows players to set the difficulty of
their adventures by using a new "Difficulty Slider" to accommodate
their group or solo play style. But what else has changed about the
with the update? And what does Cryptic have up its sleeve for the
future? Join Benjamin J. de la Durantaye as he speaks with Champions
Online Executive Producer Shannon Posniewski to find out.

Hottest Articles, Guides, and Features

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/champions-online/interview/shannon-posniewski/august2010">Exclusive
    Serpent Lantern Interview with Champions
    Executive Producer Shannon Posniewski href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/champions-online/interview/shannon-posniewski/august2010">

  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/guild-wars-2/video/jeff-grubb/ghosts-of-ascalon">VIP
    Video Q&A with Guild Wars 2
    Ghosts of Ascalon Author Jeff Grubb
  3. 3D
    Audio Arrives! A Review of
    Dolby Axon
  4. StarCraft
    Guide Portal
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2/editorials/EQ2-Extended"> style="font-weight: bold;">EverQuest II Extended –
    My Two Coppers and a Tour
  6. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/cataclysm/ui-changes">World
    of Warcraft: Cataclysm
    Interface Changes
  7. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/previews/tirisfal-glades">WoW
    - Tirisfal Glades Preview
  8. Can
    LotRO Duplicate The Success of DDO?

  9. New
    Screenshots Show Starting Area Changes

  10. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2/interviews/free-to-play-georgeson"> style="font-weight: bold;">EverQuest
    II Goes Free-to-Play - A
    Q&A with Producer Dave
  11. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/coh/going-rogue-preview">Into
    the Gray: A Hands-On
    Preview of City
    Heroes: Going Rogue

  12. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/dc-universe-online/trailer/blur">DC
    Blur Trailer from San Diego
    Comic-Con 2010

for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Karen "Shayalyn" Hertzberg and the Ten Ton Hammer team

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Karen 1
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.