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Monday, December 9, 2013

Keeping Your Account Safe in an Age of Technology


There are a lot of ways to compromise your personal information any more. And I've been reading a lot of Central threads lately regarding hacked accounts that were unfairly banned. Maybe one person wasn't telling the whole story, sure, but all these threads would just be too many coincidences. I believe in treating the problem at the source - keeping our accounts secure.

There are definitely some people with some impressive computer-manipulating abilities. If they decide they don't like you in-game, they may take your account. But that's not usually the case. Most of the time, getting hacked is made possible by something we have done. Here's what you need to do to keep your account safe.


1. Change passwords from mobile devices to avoid key loggers 

You should always change your passwords frequently. But there're certain viruses that track the keys your type on your computer. That means that if you change your password, you might actually be making it easier for hackers to get into your accounts - they get to see exactly what you're typing. By changing your passwords from mobile devices, you're ensuring that no one is going to see that new password.

If you suspect that you have a key logging problem, run a scan with your anti-virus software. If you already have a program, use that one. Several are inexpensive. If you don't have the money, there are also some decent free ones. Keep in mind that having multiple anti-virus programs is not recommended, as they are usually competing against each other on the computer.


2. Answer security questions wrong 

Did you know that AT&T Customer Support has security questions like "What's your favorite superhero?" And that they were actually permitted to give the first letter of the answer if the person of the phone got it wrong the first time? Believe it or not, it can be dangerous to answer your questions correctly, especially with the information on some of our online profiles. For example, if Ian Stormstaff had a question asking what his favorite singer was, I'd know for sure to put "Lady Gaga" after seeing his Twitter feed.

Of course, this mind, you do have to remember what you put - use something simple, but unrelated to the question. If in doubt, write it down and put it somewhere safe.


3. Don't log in to any computer that's not yours, and don't log on using a Wi-Fi network you don't trust 

KingsIsle has made one thing clear... or rather, completely unclear, and players on Central have clarified. You are guilty by association. So if you use a public computer, and someone else logs in and commits an offense there, you account will be banned as well.

Oftentimes, a computer lets you choose what kind of a network you've just connected to - with options of Home, Office, or Public. If it's public, pick that option. And be sure not to log into the game there - you never know who's lurking. Don't log into either website as well.


4. Don't allow friends to log in on your computer 

It might be tempting, but don't do it. Again, you'll be guilty by association if their account ever violates any of Wizard101's or Pirate101's rules. You should also keep tabs on your children's activity and make sure they're aware of what is and isn't permitted, or you time and money investments may be at at risk as theirs.

And it may seem like you can trust these people, but you just never know. It's not worth the risk.


5. Use two-step verification wherever possible 

If you use the same password for your Wizard101 account as you do your email or Twitter accounts, you're at double the risk. Email and Twitter accounts seem to get hacked often, but both have options for additional security. With Yahoo, you can upload a specific photo each time to get in. With Google (I love this), you can actually require a passcode to get into your account in addition to your password. Each time you successfully log in, you'll be sent a passcode on your phone to type in. This way, you'll even know if someone is getting on your account, but be able to block it.


6. Secure your profiles and accounts 

The most important thing here is to use different passwords for different accounts - otherwise it's just one lucky guess or one mess-up on your part and a hacker has access to everything. And for some of us, that's a lot more than a few game accounts or emails. Log out of Facebook and then Google that account - what information is available to everyone? Are there pieces you've used for security questions?

Here's another thing to watch for if you're a website owner. Be sure to pay the extra to protect your information when buying a domain or buy through someone like Google who will do that for you automatically. Otherwise, your personal name and address could be online... without you ever having typed it in! Be careful what you share!


7. Minimize use of applications that control your accounts 

This is particularly good advice for Twitter - people enjoy using "Twitlonger" and similar applications, and none of them are supposed to be able to see your password, but that doesn't mean you aren't giving them permission to follow new people or tweet certain things.

That's dangerous - what if they follow something you aren't aware of, or tweet potentially hurtful messages. People tend to hold you responsible for your accounts, so keep them on lock down... and out of the hands of people who'd misuse them.


8. Go "old school" and write things down 

With the possibility of people finding things on your computer or getting into them via virus, there is one way to keep your passwords out of reach. Write them down. What a revolutionary idea. Put something in ink on paper rather than in pixels on a computer. If you are worried that someone near you might get access to these, keep them on your person or in a safe.


9. Don't fall for "free crowns" offers and gimmicks that seem too good to be true

... because they usually are. And besides that, if you're caught (and you will be), you'll lose your account, even if the offer actually worked. The only place to get crowns is through KingsIsle and fansites. This is an easy way for people to get your information - don't even type in your username on these malicious sites. Most of them don't work anyway.

10. Remember... hacking in its most potent form is the skill of tricking people, not machines

 If you take all of the necessary precautions and work to keep your accounts safe, chances are that they'll stay that way. However, there are always exceptions and you can do everything by the book and still lose your account. That's why I'm pushing for additional security options for our KingsIsle accounts and those who choose to use them. I've opened up a Wizard101 Central thread HERE, a Pirate101 Central thread HERE, and a Pirate101 official forum thread HERE. I also submitted one for the Wizard101 official forum in the feedback section HERE, though it hasn't be approved yet.

Keep your accounts safe - it's too late to take precautions after your account has been hacked! Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

2 comments:

  1. Lucas Walker here. Great post Swordroll! :) Simple things like these will help many protect their accounts from being banned, stolen, or used by another person.

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  2. Lol! Loved the analogy in #2. These are great tips, and I had honestly never even thought about ones like changing passwords from mobile devices. Great work. :)

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