This one is important enough to justify it's own post. Last night when I got home, I noticed a post by one of the officers in my guild's officer forums mentioning that an unfortunate member of our guild got hacked, and all of his gear was either liquidated or transferred. So I login, to check on him and double check my own holdings (all secure on the home front). The guildmate isn't online, though he has reported his losses to a Blizzard GM, which means recovery is on the way, but due to the loss of materials he's not up for playing much at the moment. Understandable.
I went on to play around on my Hunter, then do HMT as I mentioned earlier. At some point during this, some guildies mentioned that their friends' accounts had also been hacked, and there were reports of it happening on other servers. The officers began talking about it, and one of them made the connection I hadn't: It's almost Christmas.
Now, for those of you who are new to MMOs or WoW, this may not mean the same thing as it does to some of us. Christmas (or whatever the appropriate gift-giving holiday for your religion/ethnicity is) means many things, and of them it means people getting large sums of money, and RMTs are taking advantage of that by lowering their prices through the floor.
While I have only circumstantial evidence, I've seen this happen before. Right around this time of year there's a large demand for in-game currency on the part of RMT companies, which means they are probably paying slightly above average for it. This means that whoever is getting it, is putting extra effort, including into the realm of hacking, to get that money.
I could go into a tirade about why RMTing is bad, I'm not going to do that here. This post is more of a warning, and I hope folks spread it around.
First things first, if you are using Internet Explorer... STOP. IE is more full of holes that swiss cheese. While I personally prefer Firefox, I won't tell people what to use, just go for a more secure browser. Many trojans download themselves through adds on sites, and IE does little to stop them.
Next find a good Spyware and Anti-Virus program, if you don't already have one. If you don't have one, you can pick a free Anti-Virus program from here, and I recommend for a Spyware Scanner using Lavasoft's Ad-Aware.
One of the more common methods to get past any security setups you have is to piggyback or be built into mods we download. The first thing to do is when you update your mods, do them all at once, and before activating WoW, run your virus scanner. If any snuck in, it very well might catch them. Also, I advise against using automated downloading programs such as WoWAceUpdater or CurseUpdater. Instead I suggest going the long way, and only getting mods directly from their source sites. This way you can decrease the chance of them being tampered with.
Finally, if you don't already, turn on the option on WoW to automatically fill in your login name. One of the most common methods of account hacking is keylogging. The less you type, the less information they can get from you. If you never type in your login name, all they will have is your password.
Some of these steps (especially the ones concerning mods) may seem a bit extreme, but the potential losses you can incur from being hacked are very bad. Yes, you are highly likely to regain your lost gear and money, but you may not get back your reagents or crafting materials which could be hundreds of gold worth of loss. Even worse is that a good estimate of the time it will take for them to return your lost stuff is a week or two. That means you can't really do anything until then. I know I certainly don't want to spend two weeks sidelined, sitting out of raids and Arena, because some bozo decided my stockpile of gems would be a good money maker.
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