There are many reasons why hackers do their stuff. It seems that the two
most common motivations are money and activism. But sometimes, the hackers
are just out to have some fun and maybe show off their skills without doing
any “real” damage.
That was the case when one hacker, (who claimed involvement), hacked into the
Massively Multiplayer Online Game called World Of Warcraft, and with a single
click, killed off thousands of other players.
But it didn’t stop with just that one click. It took Blizzard, the game’s publisher four
hours to fix the vulnerability during that time, thousand upon thousands of players
There are actually videos of the killings posted online as proof.
Here is what the hacker had to say about his actions:
“We didn’t do any permanent damage. Some people liked it
for a new topic of conversation and a funny stream to watch,
and some people didn’t. The people who didn’t should be
blaming Blizzard for not fixing it faster (4 hours of obvious
use is sad). It’s not like I added 20000000 gold to everyone’s
inventory, and broke the economy; but look at the big Chinese
gold seller companies, who are doing this every day. Now ask
yourself who is really ruining the game. It’s not us.
That’s my justification.
We hope you find it as funny as we do!“
Security firm Kaspersky is claiming that a previously unknown hacker group
called Winnti have infiltrated dozens of servers belonging to Massively
Multiplayer Online, (MMO), game developers and game publishers and guess
what they are doing?
Well, obviously, they are NOT there just for the fun of it. It is about
money for them. Fast cash! Get rich! There are some hackers in the
world that want to make political statements, some are activists, some are
terrorists, some are state-sponsored combatants, and some are out to just
be annoying, but these particular Winnti hackers are professional cyber-thieves.
They are stealing the source code in order to replicate the games and
then produce pirated copies, and while they are inside the database, they
are also stealing the virtual currency for later conversion to real money.
Although this is somewhat of a breaking story, these Winnti hackers have
been active for the last four years according to data revealed by Kaspersky.
Who are they? Rogue hackers or state sponsored? As of this writing, little
is known about their identity, but it is very unlikely that they are state
sponsored. Nation-states want more than a few hundred thousand dollars for
Where are they located? So far, they have been traced to either Chinese
speaking or Korean speaking coders; not much else is known.
Who are the victims? Kaspersky has not revealed the compromised MMO games
due to the economical consequences, but the victim-servers are mostly in
Asia, some in EU, and some in US.
Another Accounts Payable clerk that thought “they’ll never know, haha” is
in jail for eight counts of illegally appropriating company funds.
Susan White Garcia, 42, Newport is charged with eight felonies “of obtaining
property by false pretense” and other issues. Reports have it that Ms Garcia
had run up quite a gambling debt and since she had access to her company’s
credit card data, she just decided to let them pay her debts. How clever!
I have heard of this type of crime many times and I have to wonder what goes
through their mind? Do they really think that they will never get caught?
Do they tell themselves that when they win big, they will repay the money?
Do they think at all?
But, in this case, what is even more startling is she stole over $5 million
dollars and it took her employer “several years” to notice some money was
You can say that I am paranoid, but I would look into the accounting department
and the tax accountants. Someone rigged the balance sheet I think.
Yup, it has come to that. Kids as young as eleven years old are using their
coding skills learned online, from friends, and from family members to hack
games and steal personal data such as passwords, and stealing virtual currency.
When I was 11yo, the big challenge was stealing a piece of bubblegum at the
penny candy store, but I was always too afraid to try. We certainly have come
a long way as a society since then! Now, the little kids probably do not
bother riding their bicycles, but rather get on their own computer in their
own room and write some hacking code that steals another kid’s password.
These kids are not too sophisicated, of course, in fact, one 11 year old included
his own email address and other identifying information in his code. He was
easily tracked down by the security firms. So far, the kids are using mostly
C# and Visual Basic for their hacking.
However, give these same kids a few more years to mature and learn from other
online hackers and we will have a new generation of cyber criminals, the likes
you have never seen before. On the brighter side, maybe some of them will get
into the cyber security industry or get jobs writing more helpful code that moves
our country forward economically and intellectually.