news\ Nov 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Blizzard faces class-action lawsuit, plans to fight back

World of Warcraft

Blizzard, the maker of Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft, intends to fight the class-action lawsuit it's been charged with over Authenticators.

Two gamers are blaming the publisher for demanding money ($6.50) for the use of Authenticators that don't provide "even minimal protection for their sensitive personal, private, and financial data," according to the plaintiffs. The Authenticators are required to play Blizzard games over multiple computers and are meant to offer an added layer of security, but a recent series of breaches has led to the suit — specifically one in May, when Blizzard recognized an increase in account thefts, and a hacker strike in August, which leaked players' email addresses and personal security questions.

The suit seeks costs for damages and removal of the rule that users must create accounts (and give personal and financial data) to play Blizzard's non-MMO games. The goal is to prevent Blizzard "from tacking on additional, undisclosed costs to ensure security in the form of a post-point-of-sale Authenticator."

The plaintiffs believe Blizzard has earned roughly $26 million from these Authenticators.

Blizzard said in a response, "This suit is without merit and filled with patently false information, and we will vigorously defend ourselves through the appropriate legal channels."

It issued a statement saying it's fully committed to protecting users' data and security as well as its network infrastructure.

"The suit’s claim that we didn’t properly notify players regarding the August 2012 security breach is not true," said Blizzard. "Not only did Blizzard act quickly to provide information to the public about the situation, we explained the actions we were taking and let players know how the incident affected them, including the fact that no names, credit card numbers, or other sensitive financial information was disclosed. You can read our letter to players and a comprehensive FAQ related to the situation on our website.

Blizzard also claims a misunderstanding of the Authenticator's purpose, which it says is an optional tool that players can use to further safeguard their accounts if log-in information is compromised and any theft attempts are made. The Authenticator requires a random code in addition to the regular log-in name and password to check that it's the player signing in, not someone else.

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[Game Informer via]

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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