Blizzard is tracking you via your screenshots

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horatio

While doing my Masters in Software Engineering one of the electives I chose was forensic science because I wanted to be like Horatio Cane and solve crimes surrounded by overly beautiful women and awesome houses.

However the reality is that software forensic investigation is far less exciting but one of the most incredible things I learned was how amazingly easy it was to embed large amounts of data in image without the general public having any idea.

Which is why I find what Blizzard has done to be quite surprising as they have now been caught hiding your information in screenshots taken in World of Warcraft but in a way that is far easier to find than they could have done.

Now before you run screaming for the hills Blizzard haven’t included anything really personal like your name, IP address or any other really personal information. What they’ve been doing is embedding your account ID, a timestamp and the IP address of the server you are playing on.

This thread on Ownedcore explains exactly how they have been doing this for the past 4 years and goes on to presume that the reason Blizzard would be doing this is to check for hacks, mods and the server that they are playing on. Which is a good way to track down illegal servers so I don’t actually mind that so much.

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It would have been a good idea to include this big brother monitoring in their terms and conditions though so I suspect anyone they have caught could get away scot free now but apart from that I don’t really see the harm.

I can only presume Blizzard went with this way of embedding the data instead of sticking it into the file code itself as this would last through screenshots of screenshots helping ensure they can track it further.

And yes I know the header image is painfully bad.. feel free to show me a better one using this

Last Updated: September 12, 2012

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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