Sep 10 2008

87 MILLION gamers really upset with Chinese hackers

Published by at 7:19 pm under Chinese Malware,Hacking for money

Chinese hackers have long specialized in writing trojans and other malicious software to steal accounts from MMORPGs (massively multi-player online role-playing games). The people over at MapleStory have had enough and are starting to block IP addresses from China:

According to AsiaSoft Online, the game’s publisher and regional distributor, the game has 87 million accounts worldwide, with2 million accounts from Singapore alone.

AsiaSoft marketing director Ng Kok Khwang said the online attacks took place in August. “We were under attack by Chinese hackers from China, and we have since blocked IP addresses from China and are monitoring the situation,” Mr Ng said.

Too much money, not enough enforcement…MapleStory drops the hammer!

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “87 MILLION gamers really upset with Chinese hackers”

  1. CBRP1R8on 12 Sep 2008 at 7:33 am

    Quite a nice article actually. Not only am I a security engineer by day, but I am also a game developer by night, for a small indie MMORPG development team. One of the major flaws in mmo’s is the nature of their design. Things like cash shop, item shop, auction houses (wow) bring the gold farmers (typically chinese but not limited to just them) into the game by the thousands. Just a search of Ebay or any other similar site one can find thousands of accounts for sale, items for sale and in-game currency of your poison (game of choice). There is money in RMT (Real Money Trading) and as such, there will always be a draw for bot farmers, goldfarmers, and hackers alike to gather in-game currency, items and accounts as well as stealing those same things for resale on the open market.

    In a way the problem is 2 fold, one is that the design itself allows for what I like to call a “feed the greed” mentality. Designers put in rewards, money/loot that is better as you get higher. Players want that item/money so they can compete in higher end content or pvp (player vs player) and win. Basically, people want to look cool or have item X to compete and they always want to win.

    The 2nd problem is that typically, designers code in the money/reward in-systems and out-systems (death/repair fees) but it is the money/reward system that usually is problematic with a massive level, item, or money grind to attain certain items. This grinding is very boring and those who have excess cash would rather pay a leveling service, buy gold etc then to actually play the game to get to, what they consider the “good end-game’ content. Therein lies the problem, the grind.

    A smaller portion, is the hackers, trojans etc are rampart in many games and on botted computers and a hacker can turn trix very quickly by designing a top of the line “wow-hack” or in this case a “maplestory-hack” that allows them to steal those hard earned items, cash etc and then resale them on the black market (so to speak) via account to account in-game transfer of item/gold to another character they own/control. Then they in turn resale to other on the AH, or to gold resellers etc as indicated above. It’s big money in RMT, were talking billions a year from all the research data I have read.

    Game companies lose, from account unsubscribes and loss of money from in-game sales (on item malls), and in the time it takes to investigate. Players lose, in many fashions from being unable to compete due to items, to loss of account data, credit/pci data theft etc and time investment (how much is 2yr of your life worth?).

    There was a single case in Everquest 2 where someone found a bug in the game, duped an ungodly amount of items, sold them on the market, resold the gold to gold resellers and ended up making 78k a year for nearly 2 years before the bug was found and shutdown, by which time the entire in-game economy was completely out of control, and unfair to regular players.

    I know long winded but i’m very passionate about my games, and being a designer myself really am thinking from the ground up when building/designing a game, how one goes about defeating the RMT people, the root cause of which can be bad game design.

  2. Heikeon 12 Sep 2008 at 12:32 pm


    This is a subject area I’m very interested in and appreciate your explanation of the virtual economy and how it works.

    I remember reading about an incident where Korean WoW players were getting upset with Chinese gold farmers and decide to go on a killing spree. They decided to target and kill any player that had a Chinese sounding name. Can you just imagine what the real-world implications would have been if it had been Japanese players whow had decided to commit virtual genocide?

  3. CBRP1R8on 15 Sep 2008 at 8:37 am

    Oh yes, having spent a number of years in both Japan and Korea while working for “Big Brother” I can defintely attest to the animosity between them. From a far I once watched Defense Force “boats” come so close they nearly rammed each other, all as a show of force that neither side would budge/move for the other.

    Reminds me of a joke.
    “This is Carrier Enterprise to unknown contact. Request you immediate change course 30 degrees to port.

    Reply, “Suggest you change course 45 degrees to starboard.”

    “This is the U.S. Carrier Enterprise, Admiral of the 7th fleet, The largest most powerful Navy in the world, I SUGGEST you change course 30 degrees immediately or face the consequences.’

    Reply, “This is light house station X, I suggest you change course, but it’s your choice.”

  4. Heikeon 15 Sep 2008 at 3:37 pm