How To: Avoid Being Hacked

Tried and true suggestions to avoid having your World of Warcraft hacked.

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Earlier this week, a dangerous Trojan
made it's way around World of Warcraft accounts. This virus was
especially sinister as it was able to enter player's accounts even if
they had an authenticator. The entire WoW community was on edge and
for good reason. Thankfully, a solution has since been found and
players should no longer be at risk for this particular Trojan.

Despite the fact that this threat is
over, now is not the time to become complacent. While your account is
your pride and joy, for many, it is simply a way to make a profit. We
all know the standards to help prevent these criminals from getting
their grubby hands on our accounts, but sometimes we become a bit
forgetful of that fact. Then along comes a startling reminder, like
the recent Trojan, that we need to be constantly doing everything
possible to make sure our accounts are safe.

Below you will find some basic things
you can do to ensure that your account never ends up in hands other
than your own. Many of these you might already know, but in light of
the recent Trojan outbreak, a fresh reminder never hurts:

Don't Share Accounts

One of the first and most vital rules
of making sure your account is safe it to ensure that you are the
only person logging onto it. While it may seem appealing to hand out
your password to trusted friends, family, or guild mates, the more
people who know your password and use your account, the more chances
you have to find you have been hacked. Even if you fully trust the
person, that doesnÂ’t mean that they couldn't download a virus or
fall prey to any number of scams. Be sure that you are the only
person able to access your account at all times. Anyone that insists
you share your account with them doesn't really have your best
interests at heart.

Know the Website

Most WoW players at one time or another
have browsed websites for information about the game. Scammers take
advantage of this knowledge and set up malicious websites designed to
target your browser's weak spots and install harmful content. One of
the most common sites impersonated is the Blizzard website. Sometimes
these sites are obvious, but other times they will look exactly like
the site you were trying to reach.

To prevent becoming the victim of a
malicious website always double check the URL. If the URL varies from
the norm, it probably is a malicious website. Even when given the
link by a friend, carefully examine the link. Also check to be sure
your antivirus software is up to date and turned on. If you feel that
you have recently visited a malicious website run a full antivirus
scan and change your game password.

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Secure Passwords

While this many seem like common sense,
many people still make passwords that are ridiculously easy to guess.
This is a fatal mistake. While it may be easier for you to remember,
it also means it is far too easy for someone else to get into your
account. Don't use dictionary words, names, special dates, or
anything similar. When creating a password use a combination of
numbers, symbols, and letters in order to make it harder to just
guess. A mix of both capital and lower case letters is also a great

Also, while it may be tempting, don't
reuse passwords across accounts and services. If you do and your
password is figured out, the consequences could be catastrophic.
Losing your WoW account is bad enough, but can you imagine someone
also having access to your Amazon account? Netflix?

Finally, always remember that Blizzard
staff will absolutely NEVER ask for your password. I mean ever. Not
via phone, e-mail, or in-game message. It will simply never happen.
Anyone claiming to be a Blizzard employee who asks for your password
is, without a doubt, a fake. Don't be deceived.

Blizzard Authenticator

If you don't have one of these little
beauties already, you need to get with the program. While the latest
Trojan managed to get around the authenticator, they are still an
essential part of making your account as secure as it can be. You can
choose to buy a dedicated unit from the Blizzard Store or download
the free app for your iPhone or Android. The Authenticator will help
to protect all your Blizzard games from unwanted access.

While adding an Authenticator will mean
that you have to enter an extra code on top of your username and
password every time you log in, it is totally worth it. Especially
considering that hackers will often add an authenticator to your
account to make it that much harder for you to get it back. Adding
one before you get hacked will beat these nefarious folks to the
punch and give you an extra layer of security that you don't want to
do without.

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Safe Downloading

World of Warcraft is special because it
allows players to download and add a variety of addons to the game.
However, hackers try to take advantage of this by putting viruses and
other malware into player-made addons. While this is scary, it
doesn't mean you shouldn't download addons. Instead, be extremely
careful. Only download from well known and reputable sources and if
an addon asks you to download an executable file, abort immediately.
To be extra safe, scan all addons with your antivirus software after
they have been downloaded.

Avoid Sketchy E-mails/In-Game Messages

One of the most common techniques used
to obtain players accounts is mass messages sent out either in game
or to e-mails. These messages can vary in quality, going from
convincing to utterly preposterous. These messages usually instruct
the player to go to a website that is similar to Blizzard's. Once
there, they get you to type in your password and it is all over.

To prevent this, read these messages
carefully. Do they seem legit? Is the grammar/spelling correct? Does
the link given match up to Blizzard's official website? If you have
any doubts at all, there is a good chance that this is a scam. Also
keep in mind, Blizzard will NEVER ask for your password or login
information. These types of messages will usually make urgent appeals
saying your account is under investigation or make offers that may
seem too good to be true. Don't fall for it. When opening an e-mail
like this, always be suspicious and err on the side of caution.

alt="WoW Fake E-mail" />

Antivirus Software

Everyone should have antivirus software
on their computer without being told...right? Wrong! There are plenty
of people out there who either don't have antivirus software on their
computers or have it and have it turned off. If you are going to be
on the internet at all, you need antivirus software. Period. Going
without it is just plain stupid.

You can choose to buy it or choose from
the plethora of free programs that are available. Ask your friends
what they use for recommendations. The key here is to keep it running
and keep it updated. Turning off your antivirus software or not
having it at all is just plain irresponsible.

That wraps up our list of things you
can do to avoid being hacked in World of Warcraft. Remember, none of
these methods are foolproof. You must be constantly vigilant and
aware. Malware is lurking out there on the interwebs and hackers are
constantly coming up with new and inventive ways to hide it. By
following these rules, we can at least say that we tried our best.

If you do find yourself a victim of
scammers, report it as quickly as possible. This way Blizzard can
jump into action before (hopefully) too much damage is done. Run a
full virus scan on your computer, change your passwords, and try to
pinpoint what you could have been the cause of the breech.

Have you ever had your account hacked
yourself? How did it happen? Do you have any helpful tips for other
players to prevent their accounts from being hacked? Share your
suggestions and experiences with us in the comments section below.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

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About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.

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