Hackers assassinate game characters

Mass murder strikes online gaming world

Online gamers on Monday saw their champion characters mercilessly killed off by computer hackers who gained access to their players through a security hole in Blizzard Entertainment's games server.

Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind the game DiabloII said Tuesday that the problem had been fixed and all characters would be brought back to life.

Last week infiltrators exploited a vulnerability in the sign-in system to gain access to numerous player accounts. At first they began to discard valuable items belonging to these players but later began disposing of some of the games top characters. According to some reports, eight out of the top ten players were assassinated.

It is thought that an update to the software behind the login process is behind the flaw.

The mass murder caused great distress to many gamers who saw characters they had spent many hours playing with killed.

"We recognise that the loss of a hardcore character or unique items is a cause of great concern to players," said Blizzard in a statement. The company said that on 8 January it would reinstate all powerful characters killed between 19 December and 1 January. Blizzard also said it would put in place a system allowing players to recover valuable lost items.

DiabloII is a fantasy role-playing game based on a world filled with dragons, sorcerers and warriors.

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