When you launch the Guild Wars application, you can see important messages from ArenaNet. Typically, the weekend event is the main highlight. The message box can also includes a warning about proper game etiquette. The message is usually something minor, but today it was not. There appears to have been a major breach of security. An ominous warning, highlighted in red, informed me that I should change my password today. Upon further investigation, it seems that a fansite might have been compromised. I had a feeling that this would happen someday. By cracking the weaker security of a fansite, hackers could harvest user names and passwords from Guild Wars players. Since many players do not use unique passwords, their Guild Wars account is vulnerable.
It seems that the situation escalated throughout the day. Here’s the first warning…
Strong Passwords Promote Safety
Account theft is a real problem in online games. One of the best ways to keep your account safe is to use a complex password and change it regularly. You should also use completely different passwords for your games, fansite registrations, and all other password uses. Strong passwords contain at least 8 characters and use a minute of letters and numbers.
Later, the message changed to something more serious…
Please change your password today!
We are seeing hackers try to log into Guild Wars accounts using passwords stolen from other games and web sites. For your security, you should never use the same or a similar password for Guild Wars that you use for any other purpose. We strongly recommend that all Guild Wars players change their passwords immediately.
Photics.com / Guildwars.us does not appear to be involved in this attack. Yet, I feel that this will lead to trouble for all Guild Wars fansites. Why doesn’t ArenaNet have an official forum, an official auction house, an official e-zine and an official blogging system? If ArenaNet took the community in-house, they could improve security and set standards. When Guild Wars was young, maybe ArenaNet didn’t want the headache of managing a community. But now, the other extreme has hit them. What if ArenaNet decides that it’s in their best interest to do things themselves? It could seriously hurt fansites. Even though I’ve been doing the Guild Wars Fansite thing since 2003, I often wondered why ArenaNet just doesn’t do it themselves.