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Letters to the Editor: Facebook, World of Warcraft, and Living in a Simulation

Inside the mailbag.

by Emanuel Maiberg
Jul 10 2016, 5:00pm

It's a beautiful Sunday here in New York, meaning it's the perfect time to stop looking at your computer, go outside, and look at your phone as you walk around the city in search of Pokémon Go.

However, before we all head out to find that precious Squirtle, why don't we open up the Motherboard mailbag and see what our readers had to say this week.

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RE: Facebook Decides Which Killings We're Allowed to See

You are so right about the arrogance attached to their self-appointing themselves the censors of news and other things as well. Maybe write an article about a way we who have to endure this can fight back. I just believe strongly that no one company should have censorship power unless actual laws are being broken such as those pertaining to things like pedophilia or human being trafficking.

Thank you,

Helen Holmes.

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The image used in the piece was a screenshot from the video of Philando Castile after being shot by police. The image does not show blood or gore, but it is an image of a man dying, which we don't take lightly. We felt this image was important to share because of its violence. We felt that obscuring the image would soften the truth: This man was shot at point blank range by an officer of the law. Not only does it show the violence of this one incident, it reflects the deadly gulf of understanding between black men and police in America. In this case, the use of a violent photo was not gratuitous. It was necessary.

Adrianne Jeffries, Motherboard Managing Editor

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RE: A Gold-Stealing Script Is Rapidly Spreading Across 'World of Warcraft'

Just something cool, this story sounds like the base plot for Neal Stephenson's novel Reamde.

Chris Maust

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Hey Chris!

Ohhh, that's a good catch. Amazing how much the real world feels like a Neal Stephenson novel these days, huh?

Thanks for writing in!

Emanuel Maiberg, Motherboard Weekend Editor

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While it is true that it is likely possible to affect third-party add-ons with this particular piece of malware, the attack is actually foisted upon the Blizzard UI code itself, and has been confirmed by people dissecting the exploit; and as of today, the exploit developer themselves; that it works against anyone; add-ons or no add-ons. It is actually possible that some add-ons might actually inadvertently prevent this attack by overriding the known injection points of this malicious script but this is unconfirmed as to which add-ons might accomplish this.

Further details on the technical aspects of the script have been posted, as the developer of the exploit has posted "minified" version of the exploit payload. This payload was de-minified and commented with the technical explanations of it's function. The original exploit developer went on to note (as I suspected was the case from the get go) that this exploit actually has a full toolkit suite to manage/track infected players to essentially automate the execution of the exploit on other players.

Anonymous.

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Anonymous,

Thanks for your letter. It does appear that this malware is much worse than I originally thought when we published this post on July 7. My gut reaction to your update was skepticism because this post from redditor pomubizod is a bizarre lump of contradictions: I made this malware, but I'm not using it right now, but I don't know who has it, here's exactly how it works, good luck with that. Assuming he's the real creator, would he share any of this information at all? This is crazy Bond-villain levels of oversharing.

But, as others responding to his message point out, it appears to be the real deal. This malware is not only attacking players who don't use add-ons, but the entire process is completely automated. That's much more dangerous and it's so much more critical now that Blizzard takes steps to fix this weakness and eradicates this virus from the infected server populations. Unfortunately, Blizzard never did respond to my request for comment, so we've got no idea what they plan on doing.

Good luck out there, folks. Don't take strange scripts from strangers.

Ian Birnbaum, Motherboard contributor.

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RE: Elon Musk Is Wrong. We Aren't Living in a Simulation

Doesn't it follow that if we are living in a simulation then there is a superior intelligence that fabricated the simulation? Since we don't know for sure that there is other intelligent life in the universe then to me assigning a probability of billions to one that we are living in a simulation is guesswork.

Gerry.

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Dear Gerry,

We might be the superior intelligence who is fooling us. We do that all the time with myths, education, politics, religion, and good manners.

After all, it has been claimed that we are the only species who domesticated itself.

Thus, even if we were living in a simulation, which I do not believe, no need for a superior being.

Best,

Riccardo Manzotti, Motherboard contributor.