I’m currently in the third hour of my full Malwarebytes full scan, after clicking a trackback link. That’s right – I ended up on a site with content and behavior that was … questionable at best, malicious at worst because they linked to my blog. And this is why I check all my pingbacks if I don’t recognize them – I’m trying to save my readers from this kind of irritation. And three hours of scan for 20 seconds of being on a potentially unsafe page is quite irritating.

The Blog Azeroth shared topic of the week also happens to be “Raising Awareness”.

I’m actually consistently amazed by how creative the account-stealers are getting:  the bad email attempts at phishing, the insertion of keyloggers in streaming video, the ridiculous spamming of the in-game trade channel. But what boggles me more is that people still buy gold.

Do they really not know where this gold comes from? Or do they just not care about anyone but themselves?

Your PSA for today is simply this: When you buy gold, you say that you’re A-OK with account theft. You’re supporting that practice with your IRL dollars.

After my recent super-fun hacking, I’m overly cautious. Wasting three hours of my time now so that I don’t have to deal with three days of post-hack stress later? Totally worth it. Wasting three hours of my time so that my blog doesn’t get the reputation of being unsafe? Totally worth it. I don’t want what happened to me to ever happen to anyone else.

Now for the telling you stuff you already know portion of this entry:

  • If you don’t already own an authenticator (or have the authenticator application for your phone, if it’s available), stop what you’re doing, and go remedy that. Seriously.
  • Keep your virus software up to date, your firewall up, and get the free version of Malwarebytes. If you stumble across anything remotely suspicious in your web-browsing, do the scan. Do not log into WoW or the forums or the Armory or anything else until the scan comes back clean.
  • If you do log in while you suspect your computer might have been compromised, the first thing you should do after getting a clean bill of house is to change your password and the email address associated with your account. Consider opening a Gmail account just for this purpose – Gmail has a great feature where you can forward all email to any other account you check regularly, and then automatically delete the original.

Do not support gold sellers by buying gold, or leveling services, or gold-making guides. Do not support gold sellers by making it easy for them to hack into your account. Right click & report spam when you see their ads in trade. If a guildie or friend is online and acting suspiciously, and you cannot confirm that it is actually them, ticket immediately – they’ll thank you later. Do not share account information – no matter how careful you are, you cannot expect anyone else using your account to treat it with the same level of care – not to mention, it’s against Blizzard ToS.

Until the day comes that the sale of WoW-accounts and in-game gold stops because there’s no one buying, every honest WoW-player is a target. All the hard work you do in game is at risk if you are lazy about safeguarding your account.