Users over at the OwnedCore forums have noticed some fishy activity going on in their World of Warcraft screenshots. They discovered that by taking a screenshot within the 1-9 JPG quality range, using an editing program, and then sharpening the image, you can uncover your “character’s WoW watermark.” After much messing about with coding they claim that the screenshots can be interpreted to reveal users’ account ID, timestamp, and realm IP address.
Before you panic, forum user Sendatsu points out that “No passwords have been disclosed, nor any user IP addresses.” However, they also suggest that because the account ID is present in the screenshot, hackers may be able to link two characters to the same account, “thus creating targets for spam or scam artists.” One of the main upsets is that there seems to be no mention of this type of monitoring in the Terms of Service, which paints quite a shady picture of the monolithic Blizzard. The guys over at the forums have also taken to asking Blizzard about the issue via a reddit thread.
In my opinion the only people at risk are those who decide to break their NDA’s on the Mists of Pandaria beta, and think that blacking out their name will protect them. As many people have pointed out this could just be a storm in a teacup, but it does make you wonder: Who else is gathering information and how?