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NSA and GCHQ spied on WoW / Second Life and Xbox players and used covert players to extract informa

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  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by CthulhuPuffs
    As much as I hate the Gov and the NSA/DHS, this is actually a smart move.

    Why would a criminal organization risk getting caught planning something on a Cell phone when the whole group can get WoW subs, create a guild and start planning in some backroom in Stormwind.

     

    Its brilliant actually



    Except for the part where Blizzard logs nearly everything, including 'private' chat conversations for later use in court.

    I would be interested in hearing someone from the industry (*cough* you know who you are) chime in on what some MMORPG developers log and what they don't. I've seen the results of players doing things in chat, having it logged and the resulting consequences, so I'm confident that it's logged. It would be nice to hear from an insider though.

    **

    There's probably a lot more logging going on in MMORPGs than in the real world.

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/193241/intro_to_user_analytics.php?print=1

    **

    If I was going to setup some illicit communications network, it would be in a game where it didn't seem likely the company was capable of logging everything, or where even if they logged a lot of stuff they wouldn't be able to pay attention to all of it. At the same time the game would need to be large enough that player activity could get lost in the shuffle. Characters who did nothing but talk to each other would have to be something most people wouldn't notice. The game couldn't be that much fun either. It's no good trying to setup a clandestine meeting if your main guy is leading a raid and can't talk.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    So here's the question.

    What game is large enough that a communications network wouldn't be that noticeable to the players, and at the same time small enough that it doesn't look like the company would be capable of logging everything? It could also be that the company doesn't care enough to log player chat logs to improve the game. The ideal game would not be that much fun to play, to keep agents from getting distracted.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • cnutempcnutemp Fairfax, VAPosts: 229Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones

     


    Originally posted by cnutemp
    Doesn't blizzard install a rootkit on your computer anyways in order to track hacking software?  Not like you had privacy in the first place.


    Nope. You can run the game as a non-administrator. In order for a root kit to work, it would either have to completely bypass the system's security, which is a big no-no, or you have to start the game as an administrator. Much of the game runs server side to handle security.

     

    I doubt running the game as non-admin would make a difference.

    http://www.wowwiki.com/Warden_(software)

  • apocolusterapocoluster newport news, VAPosts: 1,321Member Uncommon
      Lol some NSA nerd convinced his boss to let him play world of Warcraft at work.  You know.... I thin there might be some national security threats at Playboy.com too

    No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

  • GruugGruug Chillicothe, ILPosts: 1,311Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ridelynn

    This should surprise no one.

    I remember reading as such years ago - that "federal agents" monitored WoW because it was being used as a chat room for "terrorists" and they would just substitute an in-game place for a real place, and talk about their plans rather openly.

    Apparently killing Onyxia is against the national interest.

     

    This.  Surprised anyone remembers that. In fact, WoW was specifically mentioned even then as a virtual gathering place for Al Queda and other groups. If you ask me, it makes sense for ANY intelligence organization to look at such things. That is IF they are targeting SPECIFIC people and not the entire group of WoW (or any online game) players.

    Let's party like it is 1863!

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko RotterdamPosts: 3,845Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by apocoluster
      Lol some NSA nerd convinced his boss to let him play world of Warcraft at work.  You know.... I thin there might be some national security threats at Playboy.com too

    Oh, I'm sure there's whole departments of cryptologists studying every single image on Playboy.com to ensure there are no threats to national security encoded in the gfx... image

  • aspekxaspekx Brandon, FLPosts: 2,167Member

    i think the only thing that surprises me about the whole NSA fiasco is that anyone is surprised.

     

    before you prejudge me to be a gun toting militia member with his head buried in conspiracy theories: i'm not, i mean at all. i don't read that stuff. the people i have run into that do drive me batty. i don't have an issue with guns, but i don't own one. i simply don't feel the need. (although shooting and blowing things up is fun, but that's what i have games for :)

     

    so i'm not surprised, not because of some hidden fringe element in my life. it's very simple though: if you give people these kinds of powers and/or tools they will be used. no evolutionary descendant of apes that i know of doesn't get at least curious. so if nothing else you should expect that security agencies get 'curious', 'will this really do all that?'

     

    and that's a bare minimum of expectation. add to that any one with a power trip, or a hostile agenda against certain groups (or any group for that matter) and you get the situation we have now.

    "There are at least two kinds of games.
    One could be called finite, the other infinite.
    A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
    an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
    Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

  • CyclopsSlayerCyclopsSlayer Minneapolis, MNPosts: 532Member
    Originally posted by SpottyGekko
    Originally posted by apocoluster
      Lol some NSA nerd convinced his boss to let him play world of Warcraft at work.  You know.... I thin there might be some national security threats at Playboy.com too

    Oh, I'm sure there's whole departments of cryptologists studying every single image on Playboy.com to ensure there are no threats to national security encoded in the gfx... image

    All too true I am sure!

     

    This however should have come as a surprise to no one. All Social Media is watched, and what are MMO's but Social Media with a twist? 

    Wouldn't surprise me at all to learn next that the NSA has taps into the VOIP server companies, and that all Mumble, Ventrilo, Teamspeak channels can be tapped. They aren't Phone calls, so they might say they need no warrents to tap your guilds next raid, quest, or bored player gatherings.

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 20,008Member Uncommon

    At the end of the day, even if true they are getting nothing of interest from my online chats and communications, heck even I fall asleep on them sometimes.

    Wait, do you suppose they are monitoring us here on MMORPG.com as well? image

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by cnutemp
    Originally posted by lizardbones   Originally posted by cnutemp Doesn't blizzard install a rootkit on your computer anyways in order to track hacking software?  Not like you had privacy in the first place.
    Nope. You can run the game as a non-administrator. In order for a root kit to work, it would either have to completely bypass the system's security, which is a big no-no, or you have to start the game as an administrator. Much of the game runs server side to handle security.  
    I doubt running the game as non-admin would make a difference.

    http://www.wowwiki.com/Warden_(software)




    It doesn't root the system. It has information that any application running under the current user has. That doesn't mean Blizzard couldn't root a user's system. They just don't need to, so they don't. It's much more effective to ban a user for using bot software than to shut the bot software down on a user's machine.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,026Member Uncommon

    this is why I canceled my xbox live subscription, and I refuse to upgrade to xbox one.  

     

  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,026Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vermillion_Raventhal
    I wonder how monitored voice chat programs like vent and mumble.

    Considering the number of servers I don't know how you would monitor all that, unless you had a sweeper program though watched for certain keywords to be spoken to activate a record of the conversation. 

    If they ever listened to our vent channel during raid they might get an earful of foul moth taking people.  That mix with some strats of move here, scouts attack, mages attack.  LoL.

     

  • garretthgarretth Chandler, AZPosts: 316Member
    Now if they could just get rid of gold sellers. . . . .
  • dave6660dave6660 New York, NYPosts: 2,543Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by garretth
    Now if they could just get rid of gold sellers. . . . .

    What if they are the gold sellers...

    “There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.”
    -- Herman Melville

  • evilastroevilastro EdinburghPosts: 4,270Member

    Wiki-leaks was only a setback...

     

    You are not prepared!

  • apocolusterapocoluster newport news, VAPosts: 1,321Member Uncommon
    Prepared for what?

    No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by erictlewis
    Originally posted by Vermillion_Raventhal I wonder how monitored voice chat programs like vent and mumble.
    Considering the number of servers I don't know how you would monitor all that, unless you had a sweeper program though watched for certain keywords to be spoken to activate a record of the conversation. 

    If they ever listened to our vent channel during raid they might get an earful of foul moth taking people.  That mix with some strats of move here, scouts attack, mages attack.  LoL.

     




    I would think they'd do it the same way they are doing everything else. Picking out 'interesting' people, getting details on their habits, and then logging all of the data into and out of their internet connections. That would probably include any voice chat servers. If they can do it with cell phones there's no reason they can't do it with voice servers.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • aspekxaspekx Brandon, FLPosts: 2,167Member

    i wonder if this is where the politics trolls come from?

    >.<

    "There are at least two kinds of games.
    One could be called finite, the other infinite.
    A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
    an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
    Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

  • knightauditknightaudit Victoria, BCPosts: 255Member Uncommon

    Guess the plans to raid Stormwind are off ... may have the FBI knocking on my door beacause we hatched a plan to overthrow the King and take his crown ...

    I think the NSA needs a real job rather than looking for terrorists under every rock ...

     

    Sad

  • AcorniaAcornia Spring Lake, RIPosts: 176Member

    I remember way back during desert storm 1 watching the chat channel and warning players about com sec because they were talking about where they were and what they were doing at the time.  If any of the bad guys were watching the channel they would have gained info they needed to fight us.

    For that reason at the time there was talk of region locking a  servers and games, so only those in the US could play the games in the US.

    Today if you have been keeping up with all the secrets that have been leaked, think about this.  Somewhere a computer scanning all the data passing through it hits on some key words that it is programed to alert on.  So it spits out the words and IP address.  Say it is a game like WoW so they have to send feet on the ground inside the game to say if this normal for the game or needs to be checked out  in detail.   Now send in everything you have to follow up on it.  Now if everything pans out maybe they will catch some bad guys and keep them from doing any harm.

    As for data collection, the UK requires at lest a 12 month storage of all data passing through the UK.  I think that the US, China and other counties would also have to do this type of data storage.

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member

    I'm not really sure why this is making such big news.  We've known for years that various law enforcement groups have a fairly dedicated presence in popular MMO's.  There was an article a while ago detailing how a lot of criminal groups like the Mafia use them as communication tools.  That's not even getting into the whole child molester side of the internet...

    The fact that the NSA does it shouldn't really be considered a surprise or even new information.

    You make me like charity

  • RedCurryRedCurry Frisco, TXPosts: 70Member Uncommon

    I bet the NSA got really tired of all the

    THUNDERFURY, BLESSED BLADE OF THE WINDSEEKER; Chuck Norris, and Anal jokes. Just like we did.

     

  • General-ZodGeneral-Zod Zod, CAPosts: 743Member Uncommon

    The problem is that the NSA has more information than they know what to do with... Zettabytes, Yottabytes of information untouched in storage because they dont know what to do with it and I hear they need to create new names for bytes so they can keep track of it all.

    The problem is if a crisis happens will they be able to access the information fast enough or even locate the info for that matter?

    image
  • BadaboomBadaboom Moose Jaw, SKPosts: 2,380Member
    Originally posted by General-Zod

    The problem is that the NSA has more information than they know what to do with... Zettabytes, Yottabytes of information untouched in storage because they dont know what to do with it and I hear they need to create new names for bytes so they can keep track of it all.

    The problem is if a crisis happens will they be able to access the information fast enough or even locate the info for that matter?

    They also have very sophisticated filters to be able to access certain things they want to know about you. 

     

    edit:  So as long as you are a sheep with the herd, you have nothing to fear.  Only when you object or cause an issue will this "meta-data" be used against you.

  • HaitesHaites Los Angeles, CAPosts: 69Member

    Everything you do anywhere online is tracked somewhere by someone.  That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone at this point.

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