Security optimize

World of Warcraft's spykit goes polymorphic

Blizzard's latest patch to The Warden spykit comes with an important change -- by incorporating a random cryptographic hash in every copy of The Warden, the application is effectively rendered polymorphic.

Blizzard's latest patch to The Warden spykit comes with an important change -- by incorporating a random cryptographic hash in every copy of The Warden, the application is effectively rendered polymorphic.

For the less initiated, The Warden was designed by Blizzard as an anti-hacking sentry against cheating in World of Warcraft. The Register offers a brief outline of what The Warden does:

From the moment players log into the game, The Warden checks open window names, process names, memory modifications, DDL names, and other pieces of data in the background. The goal is to determine if the user has a specific hack or program loaded and sends back a "yes" or "no" answer to Blizzard.

The application is a cause of concern with some privacy advocates, though Blizzard does have a responsibility to maintain the marketability and game experience of WoW by weeding out cheaters.

Now, polymorphic code is more commonly used in computer viruses and worms as a way to avoid detection from traditional signature-based anti-virus and intrusion detection software. Blizzard is probably targeting third-party tools such as The Governor and ISXWarden, which monitors The Warden application to curtail activities the authors deem invasive.

With this change however, the potential safeguard is now lost, as it is no longer possible to identify The Warden.

Would you purchase software where use of a Warden-like monitoring application is mandatory?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

13 comments
paulmah
paulmah

Would you purchase a software where use of a Warden-like monitoring application is mandatory?

seanferd
seanferd

you should have to abide by thrir rules. Think of it as Blizzard stopping others from cheating [i] you. [/i] Think of it as online security. That being said, it had better be stable, and not be a back door for hackers unto itself. I would also hope that it isn't using information gathered for any other purpose. As it is reported, it sounds a lot less "iffy" than, say, the Facebook TOS or many other online services folks don't think twice about. It sounds nothing like WGA or other MS validation schemes many people take issue with.

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

how the whole argument can get turned on its head when it comes to a GAME!

seanferd
seanferd

There are plenty of annoying and intrusive software "secuity features" out there that need fixing. Why there is such a hubbub over something that stops folks from [i] cheating [/i] in a [i] game, [/i] I cannot comprehend. If it was spyware for marketing purposes or some such, I could muster up a bit more understanding.

frylock
frylock

A couple of people have said this is fine as long as their intentions are good. What makes you assume their intentions are good? Unlike MS, Blizzard is a caring organization with your safety and well being at heart? Heh, whatever. You're also assuming that both you & Blizzard have the same definition of "good" intentions. Don't run those auction scans while you're doing your online banking :)

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

this is 100 times worse. I hope others NO NOT follow in these steps.

dnox1978
dnox1978

Yes if the intention are good, that they can guarantee my privacy, and of course that it don't affect the security, usability and performance of my computer. but if my computer get screwed up i will tell the world about it, Place all the blame on blizzard or whatever company that is behind it and and probably do some retribution against them i don't care about there disclaimers because I live in Sweden and whatever they write the Swedish law is always above their contract, agreement, disclaimers. by the way I think it very good that Blizzard tries to stop cheating.

Dedlbug
Dedlbug

If the intentions are good, and it doesn't affect performance or my machine in a negative way, I'll purchase it.

star_topology
star_topology

Going out on a limb, but not that far: "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither." Depending on where "Warden" goes from here, this may be the straw to break my WoW-addicted camel's back. I've been looking for a reason to drop subscription, but my gnome warlock is so darned cute and fun.

fairportfan
fairportfan

Franklin, apparently, did not, in fact, say anything of the sort. from http://www.futureofthebook.com/stories/storyReader$605: {quote} The language did not sound to me at all like Franklin (one of my favorite old timers). Franklin never would have said "They that can." I found an attribution of the quote on several of the sites: An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania. I had to spend $1,000.00 to get a copy of the First Edition, which was published anonymously in London, 1759. The quote is on the title page. It is excerpted from a letter from the Assembly to the Governor of Pennsylvania in 1755. The book was produced as propaganda when Franklin was in London petitioning the King to get the heirs of Wm Penn to give the colonists money to buy guns for the Indians so they could defend them against the Indians that the French were arming {/quote}

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

virtual machine in a similar vain to the old Vista activation server trick that was described last year.

CavalierX
CavalierX

If you're going to quote Ben Franklin, quote him correctly. The actual quote from 1759 is "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." I'm not sure what the "essential liberty" is you are losing here. You do, as you noted, have the option to stop playing Warcraft. As for me, I prefer it with fewer cheaters. At least, until they figure out a way around Warden.