Protecting your Computer and Account
Losing your WoW account to a hacker is a traumatic experience. According to blizzard hacked accounts are the primary source for gold on the gold seller’s market. Here are a set of tips on how to avoid losing your account. You can find the most up-to-date version of this list on deathsquadhq.guildlaunch.com. Almost every product I’ve listed here is free so cost is not a limitation. Links with a star* are my “first choice”.
I'm not a Mac expert and as such I have for the most part focused on the Windows side of the issue... but by-request I have included some tools and resources that reviews have suggested for Mac Users. If you have any input about better tools for Mac users then the ones I have listed here I would be very interested in hearing them.
Avoiding the problem in the first place... Edit
Lets get the common sense suggestions out of the way first.
- Don't give your password away - blizzard will NEVER ask for it.
- Don't pay a "fine" if you get an e-mail demanding one.
- Don't enter your account details into any site that isn't blizzard owned (worldofwarcraft.com or wowarmory.com)
- Don't trust gold sellers and power levelers.
Updating Windows/Mac OS XEdit
Microsoft Update * (XP/Vista) Mac OS X: Updating your software (Mac) Windows XP, like a fine cheese, has gotten better with age. In its original form it has a lot of vulnerabilities that have been discovered and patched. Keeping Windows up-to-date not only closes many of these security holes it also can improve your frame rate and general computer performance. Whenever I build a new computer I make sure that this is the first thing I do.
- FireFox* (Mac/XP/Vista/Linux) - Internet Explorer (XP/Vista) - Opera Browser (Mac/XP/Linux) I recommend switching away from your computers the default browser. Internet Explorer 6 is the most targeted browser and tends to have more security holes then anything else out there. I prefer Firefox, but if open source isn't your thing IE7 is a better choice then sticking with IE6. I hear good things about opera and safari, but I haven't used either since the days of NetScape.
- Adblock Plus * I always install this on my computers. Sometimes spy ware gets installed though advertisements. I recommend disabling AdBlocker Plus for websites that you want to support. There are ethical considerations that I don’t really want to get into here, but it’s worth thinking about.
Everyone hates spyware… and it only takes a few months for an unprotected computer to be rendered nearly useless. I can’t tell you the number of times where I’ve had to completely wipe the hard drive to recover a computer. I use all three of these tools on a regular basis and each one over laps a little bit. It doesn’t hurt to have all of these installed on your computer at one time, but you can only run one at a time. Spyware Blaster is a good preventive measure and Spybot S&D and AdAware are good “Finders/Fixers”.
Online Virus ScanEdit
Trend Micro HouseCall * (Mac/XP/Linux) Panda Nanoscan * (XP/?) Symantec Security Check (Mac/XP/Vista) Think you might be infected already? Run these three scans to find out. Since these scans are not on your computer they can’t be infected themselves. The only problem with these services is that they are not perfect. They are a bit easier to hide from then virus scanners installed on your computer.
avast! * (Mac/XP/Vista) Avira AntiVir (XP/Vista/Linux) AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition (XP) ClamXav (Mac) Chose one. Virus scanners tend not to play nice. I’ve ranked them in order of my preference, but they are all fine scanners. The only one I have not used is the PCTools program, but the reviews I’ve read are all very positive. Avast, by far, is my favorite. In my opinion it nags the least and requires the least user interaction in order to protect your computer fully. However, if Avast doesn’t work for you try one of the other products.
Again, firewalls don’t play nicely so just chose one. I use COMODO and am very pleased with it. Most of the reviews have ranked these three free firewalls as the best in the business. Zone Alarm is very popular, but it ranks very low on “outbound” protection. Outbound protection is what you need to stop keylogers and trojans from sending out personal information. I haven’t used Online Armor or Jetico, but the reviews for those products are very positive. If you don’t like the style of COMODO or it won’t work on your computer these are two good alternatives. Mac's build in firewall is fairly nice, but it isnt enabled by default. Brickhouse is an improved interface for the built in firewall and comes highly recommended.
Choosing a Good Password Choosing a Good Password Choosing a Pretty Good Password This is a big topic and there has been a lot of stuff written about it. I’ve included some links to some good articles on the topic. Some quick tips are:
- Six or more characters
- Use numbers somewhere in the middle of the password
- Avoid words that are found in a desktop dictionary
- Avoid "personal" information (birthdates, names, etc)
Microsoft Online Safety Password checker You can test potential passwords with the above tool.
Adding a Blizzard Authenticator to your account adds another level of security to your account. Each time you log in using the Blizzard Authenticator you are provided with a unique, one-time use password to use in addition to your regular password. Log in with both and you can rest easy knowing that your account is now even more secure from malicious attacks such as keyloggers and trojans.
The authenticator is sold through the Blizzard Store and at the time of writing costs $6.50.
For iPhone and iPod Touch users, a mobile authenticator is available through the iTunes App store. There is no charge for the iPhone/iPod Touch app.
Other mobile users can see if there is a mobile authenticator available for their phone at Blizzard's mobile website. The cost for this app at the time of writing was 99 cents.
It must be noted that there is no perfect security, but taking these simple precautions will go a long way in preventing the nightmare of account or identity theft. If you notice any errors in this document please let me know so I can update it.
- Gold Selling: Effects and Consequences (explores its connection to hacking)
- Protect Yourself From Spyware
- Viruses, Hackers, and Spyware: How to protect yourself.
- Mac OS X Built-In Firewall Options
- Hacker-proof protection
- Walling In the Mac
- 11 Foolproof Ways to Make Your Mac Secure
Copyright & RepublicationEdit
I’m releasing this document under the Creative Commons “3.0 By” license. That means you can re-publish this document all you want so long as you give me credit.
Images and some text concerning the Blizzard Authenticator are ©2009 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved. World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., in the U.S., and/or other countries.
- Written by Arrowfear of Divine Intervention - Area 52 Server
Original Post: Guild Relations Forum