Diablo 3: Is it hacking or not?

by manylaughs on June 2, 2012

If you read through the many threads about account security on the Diablo 3 forums, one think you’ll notice is rather than address the issue – i.e. gamers had their accounts compromised – many posters prefer to play semantics. Almost everyone who complains says their accounts were hacked. Within four or five replies, someone inevitably says that’s not correct – their accounts weren’t really hacked. That’s the wrong term. They were phished or spoofed or something else, but hacking is different. At least that’s what they think.

This is akin to standing on the beach, seeing a humanity-crushing wall of water rushing towards the shore, yelling, “Run! A tidal wave!”, then the guy next to you (Isn’t it always a guy?) says, “It’s really a tsunami.” Everyone else is running and he’s lecturing you on why you’re wrong.

So is it a tidal wave or a tsunami? When your account at Blizzard is looted is it hacking or something else?

First, what’s a hacker?

The Computer Security Division of The National Institute of Science and Technology defines hacker as someone “who either break[s] into systems for which they have no authorization or intentionally overstep their bounds on systems for which they do have legitimate access.”

Symantec says, “[t]he hacker’s goal is to obtain information that will allow him/her to gain unauthorized access to a valued system and the information that resides on that system.”

Well, people seem to have had their Battle.net accounts broken into by people who had no authorization, so you can safely call these people hackers.  But is it hacking? Of course it is.

Hacking is not a specific activity. Hacking is what hackers do to illegitimately gain access to a system. Hackers might use a variety of techniques – cracking, phishing, spoofing, social engineering (e.g. I’m with Blizzard. What’s your password?) – but, whatever the activity, it’s all hacking.

But really, who the fuck cares what you call it? All your legendary gear is gone!


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