This post is dedicated retrospectively to Mageshadow and sent with warm gold hugs to him and others who have had their world of warcraft accounts hacked.
UPDATE, 23 February 2011: Â Alto has written a great follow-up to this post at Alto’s Goldish Blog.
1.Keep your CDs and CD key safe. Â You might need these if you have to contact Blizzard to get your account reinstated.
2. Have a Strong Password. Avoid commonly used words, names, personal data such as birthdays, and use a combination of letters and numbers. The passwords â€œqwertyâ€ and â€œabc123â€ are going to get your hacked.
3. Don’t share accounts. Don’t give your password to anyone else, not even family. Has anyone else heard other players in their guild saying â€œbut I only let my brother use it onceâ€ from players who then discover that their charming younger brother has either deleted stuff, sold gear, bought loads of crap from AH you don’t want, or boasted and spread your password all around his school. On a side note, why is it always â€œmy younger brotherâ€ who does this? Don’t any of you have grannies with a fetish for vendoring Tier sets? [Edit: I'm sorry I spoke, it seems there is!!]
4. Don’t click strange links in websites, especially if you’re surfing the dodgier side of the web ‘accidently’ waiting for free software to fall off the back of a lorry. Yes, I do know about your passion for midget pron. Be ashamed!
6. Watch out for phishing. Chances are, that email isn’t real. There are some easy ways to recognise fake phishing emails. Check for spelling, grammar, and downright bad manners. Never reply with your account and email. Never click a link in an email. Never enter your password at a dodgy website. You might as well just mail them your credit card and a birthday card!
7. Never log onto World of Warcraft from a computer that isn’t your own, or one you know is 100% free of virus, keyloggers and evil software. Even if you practice perfect Internet security at home, youâ€™ll waste all that effort if you log on from a friendâ€™s machine that has been compromised. If in doubt, miss the raid, and grovel to your guild leader later. You know he likes grovelling anyway.
8. Guild leaders, don’t let any guild members have access to your guild bank unless they have an authenticator. You can set this up in the guild ranks.
9.Get an authenticator. They’re easy to set up and use, and very cheap. I’m terrible at losing mine, so I threaded a big shiny cord through it, and now it doesn’t get lost in my Desk-mess of D00M. Â On a side note,you also get a cute ingame pet.
10. Be careful which addons you download. Choose a site that you know is safe and stick to it for all your downloads.
11.Keep your operating system up to date. Windows isn’t the healthiest OS in the world. No, it isn’t, and don’t start an argument about it. I’m thrilled that you use linux, but some of us mortals have to make do with Windoze, deal. Click Windows Update in the Start menu.
12.Don’t use powerleveling â€œservicesâ€. Don’t buy gold. End of discussion. Oh, you still need to know why? Let’s ask Blizzard:
â€œThrough our normal support processes and the assistance of players, we also find that many accounts that have been shared with powerleveling services are then hacked into months later, and all of the items on the account are stripped and sold off. Basically, players have paid money to these companies, sometimes large amounts, and they’re then targeted by these same companies down the road. We come across stories every week of the after-effects of players using these services, and some players now have to deal with long-term repercussions — in addition to consequences such as possible account suspension or closure, in many cases the companies they paid use their personal information to perpetrate identity theft and credit card fraud. These are long-lasting effects on players’ personal lives that can take years to recover from.â€
If you are desperate to make a whole load of gold really fast, you’re very welcome to read through all the free tips and strategies I post at the Gold Queen. Alternatively, can I convince you to follow one of my affiliate links and buy a gold guide instead?