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'World of Warcraft' to sell token device for added security

Electronic device offers code that account holders can use as optional security measure when logging on to thwart account hijacking attempts.

The makers of World of Warcraft are offering players of the online role-playing game an optional layer of security in the form of an electronic token device called Blizzard Authenticator designed to prevent unauthorized access to an account.

The lightweight device, which fits on a keyring, provides a unique, one-time six-digit numeric code that the account holder includes when logging in. It is used in addition to a password and account name.

It was offered to attendees at the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide invitational in Paris over the weekend and will be available for $6.50 through Blizzard's online store soon, according to the company.

"It's important to us that World of Warcraft offers a safe and enjoyable game environment," Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, said in a news release distributed last week. "One aspect of that is helping players avoid account compromise, so we're pleased to make this additional layer of security available to them."

World of Warcraft users have had their share of security issues. Last year, hackers were luring players to Web sites and surreptitiously downloading keylogging software onto their Windows computers through vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. The software allowed the hackers to hijack the victims' WoW accounts and sell off valuable in-game assets.

WoW players also have been targeted by a password-stealing Trojan sent via e-mail and peer-to-peer file-sharing sites.

It's unclear exactly what prompted the company to release Blizzard Authenticator. A company spokesman said on Monday that representatives were still in Paris where it was late at night and could not immediately be reached for comment.