Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Anything, including off-topic posts

Moderators: Fridmarr, Worldie, PsiVen, Sabindeus, Aergis

Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Boyfriend » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:12 am

So I've seen this on several news sites, but for some reason it has not yet turned up on the one wow related site I used to frequent:

Apparently Blizzard has been watermarking all screenshots taken since Wotlk-Alpha ca. 2008 with unencrypted data containing Account ID, Server IP Address (not client) and Date/Time the screenshot was taken.

(http://www.ghacks.net/2012/09/12/blizzard-watermarking-wow-screenshots/)

If you want to check it out yourself be aware that the client doesn't produce the water mark on screenshots taken with Quality 10 (or TGA), only Quality 9 and below Jpeg.

Openly available software can currently only read your Account ID from screenshots produced when WoW is modified to include the watermark in Quality 10 images, since people have only been working on it a few days.

On the potential impact:
With the data included in screenshots it's not possible to directly access your account, however it can be used to link your characters (on the screenshot) to your Account ID, which can then be (based on the recent leak of the account database) linked to your email address. This information could be used to send targeted phishing e-mails based on your character name and armory data like : "Congratulations on recently completing the XXX achievement, please log in to receive your free mount!" or potentially by very persistent stalkers (email address can then potentially be linked to Facebook accounts etc.)

This doesn't effect me in particular since none of my characters appear on Armory anymore, but if I'd still be playing I'd definitely want to hear about it, even if just to be aware what information is out there.

Blizzard hasn't released any statement on this yet, so there's only speculation on why this watermark is included, however the best guess is that it's for either preventing leaks of Wotlk during the Wotlk alpha, or to find private servers (since it includes server IP).

(Edit: changed link from the forum thread to a news article about it, since I wasn't aware that the forum in question contains some content that might not be appreciated)
Image
User avatar
Boyfriend
Maintankadonor
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Treck » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:33 am

People are so upset about this, but I just dont give a damn.
User avatar
Treck
 
Posts: 1431
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:10 am

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Sagara » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:49 am

I think the most sensible element is the account ID. It's unique to each of us, but you'd need a matching table to get anything useful out of it.

Right now, I credit it with a "good to know" on my "Insane panic reaction-o-meter".

Out of stupid curiosity, is this account ID a GUID?
When that day comes, seek all the light and wonder of this world, and fight.

Worldie wrote:I used to like it [mean] back on Sylvanas.

Queldan - EU Stormrage (H) - Good night, sweet prince.
User avatar
Sagara
 
Posts: 3272
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:04 am
Location: Belgium

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby halabar » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:50 am

Meh.. I always use the SS ability in OSX anyway, so I can clip it to just what I want. Never have done a in-game SS.
Amirya wrote:... because everyone needs a Catagonskin rug.

twinkfist wrote:i feel bad for the Mogu...having to deal with alcoholic bears.
User avatar
halabar
 
Posts: 6557
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 8:21 am
Location: <in the guild that shall not be named>

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Nooska » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:56 am

I'm a major privacy advocate, but I seriously don't see this as a problem. Sure, you can trawl through millions of screenshots online to try and connect alts, but looking at a ot of players, I see them produly link to their alts in their signatures, so the information is out there already, and a lot more easily accesible.
Account name, emailadress and all that is nowhere in theese watermarks, so how alts can be linked to emailaccounts, well, I don't know (again, the only way the emailaccounts are available to scammers is by spidering wow sites, or by hacking blizzard - the latter gives them more - way more - than the watermarks ever could, and the former they already do - but everybody knows not to use the same email for wow sites a sthey use for their wow account, right?)
Main Characters:
Nooska, Blood Elf BM/SV Hunter on Argent Dawn (EU)
Morosin, Bloody freezing orc death knight on Argent Dawn (EU)
Niisca, Shady forsaken "priest" on Argent Dawn (EU)

Keeper Emeritus of the BM hunters guide on Elitist Jerks and the wowhead version untill patch 5.3.
User avatar
Nooska
 
Posts: 1588
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:55 am

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Shoju » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:12 am

Everything I've read says that the watermark is more like a "QR" code type of thing, and would have to be "figured out" before the information in the watermark is worth anything.

Once I see someone find a way to crack that, then I might... Nope. still wont care that I posted all those SS's.
User avatar
Shoju
 
Posts: 5068
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 7:15 am

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby culhag » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:55 am

I'm more upset that it's ruining my beautiful screenshots.
User avatar
culhag
Maintankadonor
 
Posts: 1246
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:50 am
Location: France

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Fetzie » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:32 am

culhag wrote:I'm more upset that it's ruining my beautiful screenshots.


It apparently does not appear in screenshots if you use

Code: Select all
/console screenshotQuality 10


I think it is probably simply to catch out NDA breaking Alpha testers.
Fetzie | Protection/Holy Paladin | EU-Kazzak
Former Author of the TankSpot Protection Paladin Guide
Image
Sagara wrote:You see, you need to *spread* the bun before you insert the hot dog.

bldavis wrote:we are trying to extend it as long as we can...it just never seems to last very long
User avatar
Fetzie
 
Posts: 2031
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:43 am
Location: Karlsruhe, Germany

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Volitaire » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:56 am

As far as the QR code thing yes that is correct but there have been two setups already compiled that will handle this and determine the data located within. It is still a pretty minor thing and really like already said a "good to know" but nothing major. At best someone who wanted to hide their alts could potentially be found out but really even that is pretty minor/unlikely.
<Blood Runs Cold> - Stormrage(US) Alliance 10-man 13/13HM
Late Night 12am-3am EST Tues-Thurs, Sunday
Stream: http://www.twitch.tv/volitaire
Website: http://bloodrunscold.enjin.com
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/Hamstring2568
Armory: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/s ... ire/simple
Volitaire
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:54 am

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby halabar » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:17 pm

Or just use other screen-capture tools... :roll:
Amirya wrote:... because everyone needs a Catagonskin rug.

twinkfist wrote:i feel bad for the Mogu...having to deal with alcoholic bears.
User avatar
halabar
 
Posts: 6557
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 8:21 am
Location: <in the guild that shall not be named>

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Boyfriend » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:03 pm

Sagara wrote:I think the most sensible element is the account ID. It's unique to each of us, but you'd need a matching table to get anything useful out of it.


I think the gist is that this table might already be 'out there' since when the Battle.net database was compromised in August, back when the table of e-mail addresses of all accounts were retrieved and password hashes for NA accounts. Though it's unclear if that table contained account ID's or not, since it did contain e-mail addresses and password hashes I'd say it's possible it contained account ID's.

This isn't likely to be a big deal as said leak data is not widely available, so it would only be useful for someone with the cash to buy it, so the worst that could happen is personalized phishing. Or nothing if the August leak doesn't contain account ID's, since web crawling for screenshots just to link alts would not be worth it for any use I can think of.
Image
User avatar
Boyfriend
Maintankadonor
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:16 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Teranoid » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:26 pm

Treck wrote:People are so upset about this, but I just dont give a damn.
User avatar
Teranoid
 
Posts: 1639
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:56 pm

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Treck » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:14 pm

People are like upset that its not in their tos so they didnt know it was beeing tracked.
But come on, who the hell actually reads that? :P
User avatar
Treck
 
Posts: 1431
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:10 am

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Skye1013 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:36 pm

I don't think I've ever pulled a SS from the SS folder to post somewhere. If it still has the data after I've pasted/cropped it in paint then whatever I guess.
"me no gay, me friends gay, me no like you call me gay, you dumb dumb" -bldavis
"Here are the values that I stand for: I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you wanna be treated, and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That’s what I stand for." -Ellen Degeneres
"I'm not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance." -Jon Stewart
Horde: Clopin Dylon Sharkbait Xiaman Metria Metapriest
Alliance: Schatze Aleks Deegee Baileyi Sotanaht Danfer Shazta Rawrsalot Roobyroo
User avatar
Skye1013
Maintankadonor
 
Posts: 3585
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 5:47 am
Location: JBPH-Hickam, Hawaii

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Teranoid » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:17 pm

It's just one more thing in the fearmongering arsenal of tinfoil hat wearing paranoid people thinking every single thing they do is being watched.

If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about.
User avatar
Teranoid
 
Posts: 1639
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:56 pm

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Passionario » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:02 pm

Pyrea wrote:I think it is probably simply to catch out NDA breaking Alpha testers.

Most likely, yes. Possibly also to track down private servers (hence the IP info).
If you are not the flame, you're the fuel.
User avatar
Passionario
 
Posts: 2276
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 2:52 am

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Skye1013 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:06 pm

Given that it's now becoming public knowledge, won't that somewhat counter the effect of catching private servers? I mean they already have the capability to do all kinds of other hacking, I don't see why they wouldn't be able to disable this somehow.
"me no gay, me friends gay, me no like you call me gay, you dumb dumb" -bldavis
"Here are the values that I stand for: I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you wanna be treated, and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That’s what I stand for." -Ellen Degeneres
"I'm not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance." -Jon Stewart
Horde: Clopin Dylon Sharkbait Xiaman Metria Metapriest
Alliance: Schatze Aleks Deegee Baileyi Sotanaht Danfer Shazta Rawrsalot Roobyroo
User avatar
Skye1013
Maintankadonor
 
Posts: 3585
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 5:47 am
Location: JBPH-Hickam, Hawaii

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Fetzie » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:32 am

Skye1013 wrote:Given that it's now becoming public knowledge, won't that somewhat counter the effect of catching private servers? I mean they already have the capability to do all kinds of other hacking, I don't see why they wouldn't be able to disable this somehow.


Apparently the stuff does not appear if you set your screenshot quality to 10.
Fetzie | Protection/Holy Paladin | EU-Kazzak
Former Author of the TankSpot Protection Paladin Guide
Image
Sagara wrote:You see, you need to *spread* the bun before you insert the hot dog.

bldavis wrote:we are trying to extend it as long as we can...it just never seems to last very long
User avatar
Fetzie
 
Posts: 2031
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:43 am
Location: Karlsruhe, Germany

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Nooska » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:34 am

Teranoid wrote:If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about.


This is demonstrably untrue, and has been used as the main argument to curtail privacy and civil liberties in most western countries over the last decade.

In a system where the system is benevolent and where abuse of information was unheard of, unthinkable, and as impossible as being able to fly (without outside aid), the statement would be true.

The problem is that all countries have humans handling all the information, and humans are corrupt (as in, there are corrupt humans), and as long as this is the case, you should worry as soon as some system wants to register, track or pass on any information that could be considered private, that they do not absolutely have to.
Also most western countries have the effect of the 5th included in the jurisprudence, though it doesn't even have to come into effect as what you may want to hide could be possibly embarrasing, without being illegal in any way (how many of you would want for instance porn surfing habits be public? Or have a camera in the bedroom? (It isn't illegal, so nothing to worry about, right?)

End Rant on worrying = having something to hide.
Main Characters:
Nooska, Blood Elf BM/SV Hunter on Argent Dawn (EU)
Morosin, Bloody freezing orc death knight on Argent Dawn (EU)
Niisca, Shady forsaken "priest" on Argent Dawn (EU)

Keeper Emeritus of the BM hunters guide on Elitist Jerks and the wowhead version untill patch 5.3.
User avatar
Nooska
 
Posts: 1588
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:55 am

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Worldie » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:11 am

Am I a bad person for not knowing what watermarking means?
theckhd wrote:Fuck no, we've seen what you do to guilds. Just imagine what you could do to an entire country. Just visiting the US might be enough to make the southern states try to secede again.

halabar wrote:Noo.. you don't realize the problem. Worldie was to negative guild breaking energy like Bolvar is to the Scourge. If Worldie is removed, than someone must pick up that mantle, otherwise that negative guild breaking energy will run rampant, destroying all the servers.
User avatar
Worldie
Global Mod
 
Posts: 8780
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 1:49 pm
Location: Italy

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Fetzie » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:27 am

A watermark is where you place a text or logo in an image so that people can't steal it and repost it as their own content.
Fetzie | Protection/Holy Paladin | EU-Kazzak
Former Author of the TankSpot Protection Paladin Guide
Image
Sagara wrote:You see, you need to *spread* the bun before you insert the hot dog.

bldavis wrote:we are trying to extend it as long as we can...it just never seems to last very long
User avatar
Fetzie
 
Posts: 2031
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:43 am
Location: Karlsruhe, Germany

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Nooska » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:24 am

Quite Interestingly, the term comes from paper production, where you could have an indentation on the form for a piece of paper, making the paper slightly thinner at tghe spot, thus you can see the form (logo, writing or whatever) when holding the piece of paper up to the light - and themark was made in the water while coalescing the paper material.

It was primarily used to authenticate a piece of paper, and today is primarily used to add important information to a piece of paper - like "classified" or "private" or "draft" on company (or the like) papers and documents.
Main Characters:
Nooska, Blood Elf BM/SV Hunter on Argent Dawn (EU)
Morosin, Bloody freezing orc death knight on Argent Dawn (EU)
Niisca, Shady forsaken "priest" on Argent Dawn (EU)

Keeper Emeritus of the BM hunters guide on Elitist Jerks and the wowhead version untill patch 5.3.
User avatar
Nooska
 
Posts: 1588
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:55 am

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Shoju » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:36 pm

Nooska, I'm normally with you on the privacy stuff, but I just cba'd to care about about blizzard watermarking screenshots from their game, played on their servers, with programs such as Warden already being a part of the mix. Honestly, I'm surprised that at 10 it shuts off.

I tried really hard to care, when it was pointed out that people have extrapolated the data from its coding. I did. I just don't care.

You could say that it's because I don't play anymore, but that's not it. The watermarks wouldn't have any bearing on a decision to come back to the game.
User avatar
Shoju
 
Posts: 5068
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 7:15 am

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Koatanga » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:36 pm

You know what I am taking from this discussion? That I can improve the quality of my WoW screenshots.

I have all these awesome moments preserved in artefact-riddled low-quality jpegs, because it didn't occur to me there was a hidden setting to boost the quality.
Un-Retired. Ish. Koatanga, Shapely, Sultry of Greenstone - Dath'Remar
Koatanga
 
Posts: 1682
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:46 pm

Re: Blizzard Watermarking Screenshots

Postby Nooska » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:41 pm

@Shoju, re my post on the previous page, I don't think this is a privacy problem at all - I just reacted to the nothing to hide, nothing to fear argument (red cloth to a bull)
Main Characters:
Nooska, Blood Elf BM/SV Hunter on Argent Dawn (EU)
Morosin, Bloody freezing orc death knight on Argent Dawn (EU)
Niisca, Shady forsaken "priest" on Argent Dawn (EU)

Keeper Emeritus of the BM hunters guide on Elitist Jerks and the wowhead version untill patch 5.3.
User avatar
Nooska
 
Posts: 1588
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:55 am

Next

Return to General

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Klaudandus and 1 guest

Who is online

In total there are 2 users online :: 1 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 380 on Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:28 pm

Users browsing this forum: Klaudandus and 1 guest