Call 911, He Stole My Magic Sword

from the the-sheriff-of-WoW dept

At a gaming conference, Microsoft warned that multi-player online games have significant security vulnerabilities, and that the growing value of in game assets was a juicy target for criminals. As we've seen in the past, MMORPGs are facing more and more real world complications as people invest an increasing amount of money into them. This problem is only going to get worse; as one Microsoft researcher put it, "The police are really good at understanding someone stole my credit card and ran up a lot of money. It's a lot harder to get them to buy into 'someone stole my magic sword.'" But before discussing how law enforcement can address the situation, game developers and players should try to define the border between the game and the real world. For example, most people would accept that if your character is mugged inside a game, then that's part of the gameplay, not a legal issue. But what about counterfeiting gold pieces? What about running a script inside the game that transfers gold from one player to another? Before diverting law enforcement resources to rectify players' complaints, companies running online games need to strive to develop their own security measures that satisfy their players.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2006 @ 4:15pm

    ok... A lot of missed points here

    The "real" problem, as I see it is someone using real-world hacking to obtain somones credentials to the game, and then logging in as them. (this should count as the real world crime of identity theft)

    Once you can log in with their characters, you can give the "stuff" (...whatever) to one of your own accounts, or even launder it through a whole chain of accounts.

    If I were to say, steal your username and password for your bank account, and transer all your money out of it, would you then agree that the money didn't really exist, it was jsut some 1s and 0s in a database, so you don't have any recourse? I highly doubt it.

    The problem is a real one. And it only gets worse as mmos gain in popularity. Do you think Duran Duran would like it if someone logged in as them in second life and decided to "burn" their island and proceed to sling racial insults like kool aid at a jamboree?

    But its just a bunch of 1s and 0s in a database right?

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