Is the world's most popular online role-playing game spying on its customers?
A troubling article on Rootkit indicates that World of Warcraft publisher Blizzard has a monitoring program in place that is capable of gathering all manner of non-WoW related data from its subscribers. While the author speculates that the software, warden client, which runs every 15 seconds, is designed to weed out WoW cheaters, it falls squarely into the category of spyware:
"I watched the warden sniff down the email addresses of people I was communicating with on MSN, the URL of several websites that I had open at the time, and the names of all my running programs, including those that were minimized or in the toolbar. These strings can easily contain social security numbers or credit card numbers, for example, if I have Microsoft Excel or Quickbooks open w/ my personal finances at the time... Next, warden opens every process running on your computer... I watched warden open my email program, and even my PGP key manager."
As one of more than four million WoW subscribers, GP ain't happy about this one. Thanks to Kotaku, where we came across this disturbing item.
UPDATE: A GP reader has clued us in that Blizzard has addressed this issue in their forums.