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How to protect your system from keyloggers [Updated]

It's raid night. You've farmed your mats, topped off your repair fun and loaded up on pizza and cola. But for some reason you can't log on. You're sure you typed in the right password, but no go. You IM you guildie: "Are the servers down? I can't get in." His reply sends chills down your spine: "We just saw you at the bank. Why was your toon naked?"

Years of hard work gone. Someone else accessed your account and stripped your main of all his gold, bank items and tradable equipment. "But I don't give my password to anyone!" you wail. You don't have to, the keylogger program knows it anyway.

What's a keylogger? It's a small, virus-type program that can accidentally be installed on your computer. How might a keylogger be installed on your system?
  • Visiting an untrustworthy web site. Some sites may have code in them that exploit your web browser and cause it to quietly install a keylogging application without your permission. (Note: even turstworthy sites can be hacked! The same hackers who are after your information can hack what you think of as trustworthy sites and add exploit code to them which could give you a keylogger.)
  • Downloading addons (or other files) from an untrustworthy site. Any executable file you download could contain a keylogger or virus, so before you download a file, be sure you're downloading it from a source you trust!
Once a keylogger gets installed, it starts recording every keystroke you make. And when you type in your account name and password for your WoW account, it captures that, too. The next time you access the Internet, it sends your private information to the hackers who use it to log into WoW and strip all your characters of everything valuable leaving you with a penniless toon wearing nothing but his trousers.

This all sounds pretty scary, but don't worry -- there are ways to protect yourself from keylogging programs!

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Filed under: How-tos, Odds and ends, Account Security

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