Players have been advised about The Dangers of Buying Plat and/or Power Leveling services for a couple of years now, including the consequences such as compromised accounts.
However this July, SOE became aware of a more insidious and direct attack upon the EQ2 playerbase. We’re talking about an Account Phishing Scam that encourages players to login to an official-looking website using their SOE Station credentials. Personal information including logins, passwords, e-mail addresses, account names, are logged and eventually used to strip characters and otherwise compromise accounts for plat and item distribution within the game.
In the Account Fraud panel at Fan Faire, as well as some discussions with SOE staff, we have determined some sobering data points.
- Many players create Station accounts for EQ2 using the exact same login/password they use for other games (including WoW), and sometimes even their primary e-mail account, and banking websites.
- Past phishing scams for WoW have netted account information for an alarming number of EQ2 players that used the same credentials.
- Some of these account scammers are incredibly organized, and have years of collected data. Some EQ2 accounts have been compromised with information from 4 years ago.
- Compromised accounts are used for a variety of tasks. We’ve all heard about characters being stripped naked in Qeynos Harbor. But your account is just as likely to be used to distribute platinum and other items from plat distributors to buyers.
- Some players have had the same account compromised 3 times in the same week.
- The number of EQ2 accounts compromised has doubled every month for the last three months since this phishing scam began.
What is Customer Service doing?
Customer Service are currently investing 45 minutes to 1 hour for each compromised account to do more than simply “roll back” the account, but step through event logs and restore the character with all items lost, but without any quest progress lost.
If the same account is compromised again within a short time, then a straight “roll back” is performed.
What can players do?
- Use a different password for your banking information and e-mail accounts than you do for Forums and Gaming accounts.
- Install and maintain up-to-date Anti-Spyware and Antivirus software.
- Do not share accounts or account information with guildies, friends, family.
- If you must share account info (against terms and conditions, but this happens within guilds due to the need for raid looting, raid buffs, and character boxing,) then change the account password to something temporary for that situation, and then change it back on your next login to your account.
Keeping your account secure is your responsibility, and no doubt SOE are looking into the possibility of the type of security fobs used by other security-related sites including employers and, of course, a certain other 10 million subscriber game.
Other things we heard from Customer Service were a drive for GMs to spend more time on-server to interact with players while resolving issues. They realize the value of on-server GMs, even if those GMs are mostly busy handling support tickets.
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