Special Task Force Report (10/24/2007)

Today's report will outline our actions conducted from September 26, 2007 to October 24, 2007 in dealing with players violating the user agreement, as well as details on the activities, results, and goals of the Special Task Force.

Click here for details on the Special Task Force's activities in dealing with players violating the FINAL FANTASY XI user agreement.

Special Task Force activities and future plans

The number of characters engaged in illegal gil collecting, such as hunters (*1) and characters involved in the use of cheats to automatically repeat particular actions, has been significantly reduced as a result of our activities, but we have recently discovered a new kind of illegal activity that uses third-party programs against NPCs in Southern San d'Oria and The Pit. As was mentioned in the previous report, characters involved with large-scale gil collecting for the purpose of RMT (*2) are having a lot of trouble. It can be presumed that characters involved in direct illegal actions through the above method have appeared as a side effect.
The other day, we introduced some counter-measures through emergency maintenance, but if the same problem occurs again in the future, we will respond swiftly with both edits to the game system and activities against user agreement violators.

The following are the results of our actions from September 26, 2006 to October 24, 2007.

- Cheats to automatically repeat particular actions (specifically illegal fishing)
A total of 3070 accounts were banned within the space of a month.
The steady progress is proceeding slowly, but the characters in question are continuing to decrease as a result of our activities up until now. We are planning on strengthening our activities in dealing with this situation.

- Hunters
As a result of the strengthening of our activities in the Buburimu Peninsula last month, we have seen great results, and the problem of characters continuously defeating the same monsters over and over in the same area for RMT gil collection has significantly improved. We are planning on expanding the scope of our activities into new areas and we appreciate any information FINAL FANTASY XI players can provide.

- Use of synthesis and auction houses for RMT (*3)
A total of 880 accounts were banned within the space of a month.
As a result of new methods of dealing with such characters, we are not simply pursuing characters engaged in synthesis and auction houses for RMT, but we are now capable of expanding our activities to characters who are engaged in the collection of materials for RMT.

*1. Hunters
Characters who kill Notorious Monsters, clear quests, and obtain items over and over again with the sole purpose of gathering gil, which is then handed off to RMT groups.

*2. RMT
"Real Money Trading." Selling game data for real money.

*3. Use of synthesis and auction houses for RMT
Actions involving selling large quantities of in-game items for gil, which is then traded for real money.

Matters of concern within the community

In the following section, we will be explaining the Special Task Force's direction and plans in dealing with matters of concern within the community.

- It seems that the Special Task Force is dealing with sellers engaged in RMT quite severely, but I believe that the buyers should also be severely dealt with. Instead of just warning them, shouldn't you ban their accounts or confiscate their gil and items?
We might temporarily have results in dealing with the RMT problem by confiscating buyers' gil and items, but we cannot perform biased activities such as targeting only gil buyers.
The Special Task Force views both gil buying and gil selling as violations of the user agreement and has taken a policy of dealing out penalties to each violator according to the severity of the violation.
All penalties for each account remain on record, are accumulated, and if a player repeats a violation of the user agreement, a stricter penalty will be dealt out than the previous one on record. Of course, depending on the details of the violation, there are players who are banned on their first violation.
In accordance with this policy, a total of 450 accounts were temporarily suspended or banned within the space of a month for illegal gil purchasing.

- Lately damages caused by unauthorized access have been on the rise. What should I do?
Systematic measures were introduced at the beginning of October to improve security against unauthorized access to PlayOnline from third parties, but recently suspicious URLs have been posted on bulletin boards and forums on community sites. It has been reported that, by clicking on these URLs, one's PlayOnline ID and password may be stolen.
Along with diligently managing your PlayOnline ID and password, we would appreciate it if all players would read the information about spyware included at the end of this report.

Reporting to the Special Task Force

The Special Task Force relies on everyone's information regarding violations of the user agreement to help keep FINAL FANTASY XI an enjoyable environment, and we appreciate your continuing support and cooperation.
Report to Special Task Force

Warning about unauthorized access through spyware

Recently, there has been an increase in damages caused by unknown third-party access to PlayOnline accounts where items and gil are lost, and characters are deleted.
As many of you may be aware, harmful programs known as viruses and spyware are common on the internet and, depending on the kind of program, your computer could become infected by simply viewing a website. Viruses and spyware are believed to be one of the primary causes of recent unauthorized access to PlayOnline.
The following are a few countermeasures in protecting against such harmful programs.

- Do not access websites with unknown or suspicious content.
- Do not download software from unknown or suspicious websites.
- Periodically perform Windows Updates and keep Windows updated to the latest version.
*Refer to Microsoft's official website for more detailed information.
- Periodically update your web browser to the latest version.
- Do not use external tools not approved by Square Enix under any circumstances.
- Always use the latest antivirus software.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in your diligent management of your PlayOnline account.