How safe is Azeroth, or, are MMORPGs a security risk?

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Computing, Health and Science


School of Computer and Information Science, Centre for Security Research




This article was originally published as: Hilven, A., & Woodward, A. (2007, December). How safe is Azeroth, or, are MMORPGs a security risk?. In Australian Information Security Management Conference. Original article available here


Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) are at a basic level a networked application. Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is currently the largest example of such a type of application, with over nine million subscribers at last count. Whilst the idea of researching a game for network security may sound trivial, nine million potential backdoors into home and business computers is not. The ports used by the game, as well as authentication methods and client update programs were examined using packet analysis software. No obvious vulnerabilities were discovered as a result of this analysis. In addition to this analysis, an examination of the literature in terms of other types of attack that are present was also performed. These include such common attacks as SPAM, malware and trojans. The conclusion is that while no specific network vulnerability appears to exist in the games launcher or updater, there are still a number of other attack vectors that need to be considered and protected against.


Link to publisher version (DOI)