Security Advice for LORTO Users

Lately the forumsĀ  have been rampant with threads regarding getting hacked. Whether it’s people who have been hacked or people seeking advice on how not to get hacked, everyone is worried it seems. And of course, why shouldn’t we be? No one wants to loose everything they’ve been working on in-game. Here, I’ll be laying out some advice on keeping your LOTRO account secure.

First, let’s get some basics out there: Don’t go to questionable sites! Sapience recently posted in a thread saying that as an increase of gold selling/buying hits, so too does the increase of hacked accounts:

For those curious, you may want to do some nternet searches to find some potential reasons for the spikes you are seeing in compromised accounts. One reason (though not the only one), which is unfortunate but only all too true, is that gold buying spikes around the holidays and copromised accounts spikes right along with it.

As we should all know, buying gold is a bannable offense in LOTRO — SO DON’T DO IT! That should seem like common sense, but there wouldn’t be a market for it if people didn’t keep doing it.

In the same vein, don’t click on links you aren’t sure about. If you get an e-mail that says something like “Hey! Look! Sale on Turbine Points! Click here!”, don’t. Even if it turns out to be a legitimate Turbine e-mail, just go to the official LOTRO site and look for the sale there. Furthermore, keep the LOTRO site (http://www.lotro.com) in your bookmarks. That way you can always be sure you are going to the 100% approved and official site and not some look-alike site.

Now, passwords. Here, Sapience has advice on passwords:

As Patience noted earlier and I have said several times, you would do well to double and triple check your usernames and passwords and keep them safe by changing them often.

This seems like good advice, especially seeing as it comes from the main community moderator. The true importance lies in making a strong password.

So how do you come up with a strong password? My favorite method is the Sentence-as-a-Password. Basically, you make up a random sentence. For example, “I love the Minnesota Vikings”. Then you take the first letter of each word: “iltmv”. After that, You can change it a bit, add numbers or symbols and caps: iLtMV49. Of course, the longer the better. I like this system because it’s easier to remember, for me anyway. Everyone is different of course.
Another word on passwords: Don’t use the same ones twice! I know it can be a pain to come up with different passwords for every site. However, you can use the same password base, and change up sections of it. Using the example above, you can use iLtMV49 and change it to vMt49IL49 or something like that.
Some more words of wisdom: Don’t give our your password or username to anyone! Don’t write it down even. You never know when someone might think they’re just playing a ‘joke’ and delete all your characters. No one but you understands how important they may be to you. So don’t give someone else the opportunity to screw up all your stuff.
And last but not least, anti-viruses. This kind of goes with not clicking on questionable links and going to iffy sites. The more unapproved sites you go to, the higher the likelihood is of you getting a virus. However, it’s always good to run your anti-viruses. And multiple of them if you can. The two I recommend are Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Microsoft Security Essentials. They both have free versions you can use, and they work great. I occasionally get viruses, and these two working together always take care of them quickly.
Update, Jan 18: Turbine has released a list of things to do to help keep your account safe. And whaddaya know! Pretty much all the exact things I listed here :)
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