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Monday, February 11, 2013

Runescape: Hacking...Are you smarter than an 11 year old?

These aren't tradeable, but do represent irreplaceable possessions
Jagex has taken a stance against hacking and real world trading for years.  Legitimate players have been deadly set against cheating of any sort.  It devalues the effort we put into our game time. Bots are so bad it's nearly impossible to play some aspects of Runescape for the crowding.

We've all heard the reasons we shouldn't cheat.  Recently, one of the biggest reasons hit the news, and is expected to have a major impact on players this coming year.  AVG, a major antivirus provider, discovered a new Trojan being used against Runescapers.  Because it was done in an amateurish manner, they were able to track it back exactly to the hacker that wrote it.  And he's an 11 year old boy.

The program he wrote offered a hack allowing players to create Runescape gold on demand.  It asked for their username and password to make the changes on the account.  But instead of giving free gold, it sent this private data to the hacker.

According to AVG, young programmers tend to write hacks to prove they can, and to show they're smarter than the losers they steal from.  Not necessarily motivated by money, but as a sort of power play.

Whatever the motive, once they have your account data, they could very well access other things.  Aside from credit cards stored on the account, people often use one password, or a variation on a password, for all their accounts.  Breaking into one account can often be a springboard for breaking into other accounts.

That perspective is in the news a lot.  Speaking as a Runescaper, I'm talking about the other side of the problem.  This kid, having stolen your account data, can then take over your account, change your password, and before you can get it changed back, plunder your bank.  Take all your money, your best armor, best weapons, any cool and valuable items you've amassed.  Non-players don't understand how much this stuff means to a player.  You've spent hours, days, months and years of your life building the character.  Having that invaded and taken from you hurts.

I allowed myself to be hacked once years ago.  I should have known better.  Told me he was a Jagex employee, and needed to examine my account to verify a claim against me.  But I'd only been playing for 3 days, and had nothing of value.  So I let him access my account.  When I got back in, of course I was standing at the bank.

The good part was nothing had been stolen.  There was nothing in there worth taking.  Even knowing it was probably a scam, even knowing I had nothing worth taking, it still left a bad taste.  How can people treat each other like that?

I nearly quit playing at that point.  3 days in, I wasn't emotionally invested.  But that sense of my personal space invaded bugged me.  I wound up starting a new character, and have enjoyed Runescape  ever since.

I was pretty lucky.  Played much safer after that.

What I'm saying, is don't cheat.  You can't trust the software, or the programmer, and you might wind up really regretting it.  And to be honest, if you're trying to cheat, and you get cheated... well, that's kind of poetic.  :^)

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