A few days ago I read some news all around the World of Warcraft websites about a virus which managed to hack Authenticator Protected Accounts. I wasn't too amazed because there is no 100% secure method to protect your account but if you know what to do your chances of losing your account are extremely low. I'll try to guide you by giving you some tips on how you can protect your account details. Remember, this is not necessarily only for a World of Warcraft account. Since Battle.net accounts deal with more than World of Warcraft, if someone compromise your account this can also affect games like Diablo III and Starcraft II.
Here are a few ways to prevent account theft:
1. Keep your WoW account email and password private
Do not post your email and/or password that your are using for your WoW account on forums or blogs or something like that. Do not email them or use them in chats with your friends. IF you want to tell someone you trust your account details use the phone. (Remember that transferring the account details is not safe either!)
If you register to forums or websites (especially the WoW related websites) do NOT use the same password and/or email that you are using for your WoW account.
2. Do not randomly click on strange adds and/or links
Especially on the WoW related websites avoid clicking on random links or adds that fly around everywhere these days. You can never know if you can trust any of those links. Read below and use a better internet browser and an anti-virus software.
3. Use a strong and unique password for your account
Keep your password unique. Use it ONLY for your WoW account. Like I said above, do not use the same password you are using for your WoW account anywhere else BUT for your account.
Also do not use simple passwords like "pass" or "warrior" or anything simple like that. Be more creative. You can use up to 16 case sensitive characters for your password. Use something like "ILoveW0WJuJu123#" (that was just an example, do NOT use that!).
A strong password should have: case sensitive letters, numbers and special characters.
4. Use anti-virus software and a firewall
All PC users should have something like this installed on their computers. The best anti-virus and/or firewall programs are the paid ones. You'll never find a free one at the same level of performance with a paid one. But still, a free anti-virus is better than nothing and it can increase your PC security by a lot.
Here are a few free anti-virus products you can use:
Here are some free firewalls:
These programs are only a few examples added there in no specific order. You can search yourself for the product that suits you best but remember, always download it form the official website.
Also, do not forget to UPDATE your anti-virus and firewall. An old anti-virus is pretty much useless.
5. Use a Malware / Trojan / Keylogger scanner
It is always good, beside your anti-virus, to run some additional scans. The good thing is that most of the products for this job are free (or they have a free version most of the time).
Use Spybot Search & Destroy. It is totally free. Install it, update it, run the Immunizer and after that scan your PC.
Use Malwarebytes. It has a free version too... Install it and perform a full scan.
Use these scans from time to time and your PC will be a bit more secure.
6. Download only from trusted websites
Whenever you download a new addon or your vent client after a reinstall or if you download an addon updater client use the trusted website only.
For the addons use the curse.com, wowinterface.com OR the addon author official website. Even so, if you are not sure about the source do not download and ask for your friends or guild mates help to tell you where they downloaded that addon from.
For ventrilo us the official website: http://www.ventrilo.com/
For addons updater clients use their official websites also: curse.com or wowmatrix.
Basically for anything you are downloading check the address bar of your browser. Read the name of the website carefully and be sure it is the CORRECT one.
7. Watch out for site phishing
Even if a website looks EXACTLY like the official Blizzard website it is not necessarily the right one. Read the URL of the website you are in carefully BEFORE submitting your account details to it.
Also, using a secure browser helps a lot with this. Try using Firefox or Opera. Usually on Firefox your address bar will look something like this when you are on an official Blizzard website.
Note the blue battle.net background. It means the website is verified, secure and authentic.
8. Wise WoW Account management
There are two important things you have to remember when you create your account.
Always keep your WoW CD Key safe and always remember where you left your CDs after install.
Always remember your account Secret Question.
If your account is hacked these are the only "tools" to recover your account.
9. Avoid using other computers but your own
Whenever you log WoW or access your account management is better to do it from your PC. You never know if that PC is infected or not.
Public computers like net cafes should be avoided mostly. Most of the public computers are infected with different kinds of trojans and keyloggers that can "steal" your account details and compromise its security.
10. Use an Authenticator
Last but not least: The Authenticator! Yeah, some virus managed to "hack" this method, but that doesn't mean it is not a VERY good method to protect your account. If you follow this guide to the letter and you add an Authenticator to your account as well it will be a BIG plus to your account security. (and you get a great in-game pet too! ^.^)
Basically, if you follow all tips of this topic you should have your World of Warcraft account pretty safe. Noting is 100% secure these days but at least you know you did everything you could to protect yourself. Remember to always scan your PC at least once a week. Update all the software products that you are using and also do not forget to update your Operating System.
Do you have any other tips to help others protecting their WoW accounts? Tell us about it...