Special Task Force Report (04/23/2008)

Today's report will outline our actions conducted from March 26, 2008 to April 23, 2008 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.

Regarding Online Attacks against FINAL FANTASY XI

Recently, we became aware of an individual who attempted to compromise the integrity of the FINAL FANTASY XI service. The individual's efforts exploited the low-security passwords chosen by a small percentage of our customers. We would like to assure our users that our PlayOnline team quickly responded with countermeasures against the attacks from this individual. Additionally, our legal team worked together with U.S. government authorities to identify and locate the individual. As a result of our investigation, we have now completed an out of court confidential civil settlement which has serious financial consequences for this person. This is in line with our zero-tolerance policy against any attempts to compromise or hack FINAL FANTASY XI and the PlayOnline system. We will vigorously investigate and prosecute any such attempts.

Click here for details.

Special Task Force activities and future plans

We will start out today's report talking about account banning and gil confiscation.
A total of 10,400 accounts were banned in March, an increase of 3,500 over the previous month.
Similarly, a total of 580,000,000 gil was frozen in March, a record increase of 370,000,000 gil over the previous month. As mentioned in last month's report, the Special Task Force has strengthened actions against players violating the user agreement in regards to gil buying and selling. The sudden increase in the amount of gil frozen is mainly due to our heightened activities.

Below we will describe the results of some of the countermeasures introduced in the March 11th version update, as well as recent trends regarding violators of the user agreement.

- Illegal fishing
Places where it was possible for even low-level characters to fish without being attacked by monsters such as Sea Serpent Grotto and Cape Terrigan can no longer be used to catch fish. As a result of the recent version update, the number of characters involved in illegal fishing at these two locations has drastically decreased.However, because characters can still be found fishing in locations that players cannot normally move, the Special Task Force has further shortened the intervals between bannings.

- Illegal mining
We have witnessed definite results through the version update disabling characters under level 20 from obtaining items through mining in Newton Movalpolos, Mount Zhayolm, Halvung, Gusgen Mines, and Ifrit's Cauldron. There are still violators of the user agreement who are raising their characters up to level 20 and repeatedly engaging in illegal mining, but the number of violators has drastically decreased compared to the numbers before the version update.

- Actions taking advantage of certain quests
Because of the job level restrictions applied to the requirements for accepting an offer for the quests Gifts of the Griffon, Claws of the Griffon, The Firebloom Tree, and Test My Mettle, almost all of the characters using these quests to make gil have disappeared.
We are continuing to investigate whether there are other quests being taken advantage of for gil or items.

As demonstrated above, through the introduction of various countermeasures in the March 11th version update, we were able to disable several of the methods players violating the user agreement use to obtain gil. However, there are various new problems cropping up such as violators who had been involved in illegal mining moving their mining activities to new locations such as Mamook.

In order to introduce countermeasures to deal with new methods being used by violators of the user agreement as soon as possible, the Special Task Force is currently consulting with the FINAL FANTASY XI development team.

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.

- I've seen characters using their abilities with impossible timing on Notorious Monsters the moment they appear. Isn't this a violation of the user agreement? Or are they violators of the user agreement who have somehow avoided getting banned?
The Special Task Force individually investigates the areas and characters mentioned in each report submitted by FINAL FANTASY XI users, but in most cases, the characters mentioned above are fighting Notorious Monsters through completely normal behavior.
We will continue to investigate each report we receive and ban players who are found in violation of the user agreement. If you discover any players violating the user agreement or using illegal methods to play the game, please be sure to report them to the Special Task Force.

- There are many characters involved in illegal fishing and lumbering, so why aren't there level restrictions on them like there are on mining?
It is true that putting restrictions on fishing and lumbering to prevent lower level characters from obtaining items would hamper violators of the user agreement, but it would also take away several methods from general FINAL FANTASY XI players just starting out that they use to obtain items and gil, and would make gameplay difficult for many of the other players enjoying the game.
Because of this, we have no current plans to place level restrictions on fishing or lumbering. We are, however, seriously looking into introducing drastic systematic changes that would only affect violators of the user agreement.

Regarding unauthorized third-party access

As mentioned in Information on March 28, both ABC News and Yahoo! News have reported that over 10,000 websites have been infected by hackers in an attempt to steal the IDs and passwords used in various online games.
Based on the articles, it is apparent that hackers are heavily targeting online game accounts. As we have often reminded our players in the past, we ask that you continue to monitor and update the security of your system and Internet connection to prevent any harm caused by infected websites and malicious programs.

Along with changes made to the policy today in regards to unauthorized access, we have created a new page concerning unauthorized third-party access. The page introduces preventative measures against unauthorized access and procedures for recovering your account in the case that it has been damaged through unauthorized access.

Click here for information on dealing with unauthorized access.

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

*Please contact the Square Enix Information Center by telephone in regards to unauthorized access or other concerns regarding your account.
If you become aware of unauthorized access outside of the Information Center's hours of operation and possess multiple PlayOnline IDs, log in from another PlayOnline ID and contact a Game Master (GM). The GM will make the accessed account temporarily unavailable.
However, please note that a GM cannot perform account related actions such as changing one's password, so it will be necessary to contact the Information Center at another time.