“Even when you’re busy having fun, every week doesn’t get fun,” Blizzard president Mike Morhaime wrote today as he told the world about a security breach that compromised a significant number of users’ Battle.net account data.
The breach reportedly includes a list of valid Battle.net email addresses, cryptographically hashed passwords, answers to personalized security questions, and mobile and dial-up two-factor authentication information. Billing information, including credit card numbers, addresses and real names, appears to be safe at this point in the study, the company said. The attack affected Blizzard’s North American servers, which are used by players in North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.
The passwords collected are protected using the Secure Remote Password protocol, Blizzard says, making it extremely unlikely that they could be used to gain unauthorized account access. These “salted” passwords must be individually deciphered to be usable, an extremely slow process that makes the passwords much more secure than the “unsalted” passwords revealed in recent high-profile hacks for sites like eHarmony and LinkedIn. Those were protected by simple SHA-1 and MD5 cryptographic hashes, respectively.
Still, Blizzard recommends that all users change their Battle.net passwords and similar passwords on external accounts. Users will also be prompted in the coming days to update their security question/answer pairs and mobile authentication software (physical two-factor authenticators should still be secure, Blizzard said). In the meantime, customer service representatives have been told to use additional methods to verify player identities for those trying to recover their accounts.
Blizzard says it learned of the breach on Aug. 4 and worked non-stop to identify the perpetrators before revealing details of the attack late that night. “Our first priority was to re-secure our network, and from there we simultaneously worked to investigate and inform our global player base,” Morhaime wrote. “We wanted to strike a balance between speed and accuracy in our reporting and worked hard to meet both equally important needs.” The vulnerability that led to the security breach, which was not publicly identified, has since been patched, the company said.
“We take the security of your personal information very seriously and we are truly sorry this happened,” Morhaime concluded.
Prior to launch for Diablo III‘s real money auction house, Blizzard began requiring two-factor authentication for users who wanted to trade in-game items for real money.