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Hacking to Live, Living to Hack - 20 Years Exploiting MMOs

MotherBoard has a new article about a hacker named "Manfred" who has spent 20 years exploiting MMOs, not to gain an advantage over other players, but to carve out a lucrative living for himself. He does so by finding bugs that allow him to exploit the system for in-game currency and items that he turns around and sells on Chinese online marketplaces and in other internet locations.

While speaking with the reporter during the Def Con hacking conference, Manfred took a few seconds to show his WildStar account. A few keystrokes later, his character had over 18 quintillion worth of in-game currency.

WildStar isn't the only game Manfred's hacked either. In 20 years, and beginning with Ultima Online, he's exploited Lineage 2, Shadowbane,Final Fantasy XI, Dark Age of Camelot, Lord of The Rings Online, RIFT, Age of Conan,Star Wars New Republic, Guild Wars 2, and others.

Manfred prefered to remain in the virtual shadows and to fly under the radar in most games he used. He continued to use bugs and vulnerabilities in coding to his gain until discovered and banned. Then it's on to the next game to continue his work.

According to Manfred, he has now quit the "exploitation business" and is a part of a consulting company.

For Manfred, coming out now is a chance to show the world that video games need to take security more seriously. Most of the hacks he did over 20 years, he said, relied on very similar bugs.

"It's kinda like groundhog day, you play a game, you find some exploits, you get banned and then you move on to the next game," Manfred said during his talk.

You can check out the full article at Motherboard.

Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

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Suzie Ford / Suzie is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. Follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom

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