Second Life cannot only be used to make cool products, but can also be used for fraud and hacking.
Ever heard of someone who’s money was stolen or who’s account was hacked ? The reality is it could also happen to you. Luckily there are some ways to make it a lot harder to fraud you or to compromise your account.
How to prevent fraud?
Because Second Life allows users to create their own content without moderating it before releasing it in public people try to find ways to steal your money by using in game objects.
There are a few important things to know about this.
First of all objects need to ask permission to debit your account. You need to ensure yourself that an object really needs this permission to work.
For example it is normal for a tipjar to have permission to debit your account because it needs to send money to the avatar logged in to the tipjar. Nevertheless it always stays a risk because you never know what is programmed in a script by the creator. It could for example debit linden from your account on a timely interval. Therefore the best protection against stealing your money is to just don’t have a lot of money in your account or use a seperate avatar which you never use to keep your L$ balance.
Second of all you need to trust the creator of the object to let him or her debit your linden dollar balance, which you probably don’t , because you do not know the creators in real life.
You can however take a look in their shop to see if they have other products in it. The more products in the shop the more “trustworthy” the creator probably is, because if the creator commits fraud he or she will loose their shop by getting banned from the game for selling fraudulous objects.
Third of all huds can never steal money from your account, because they cannot request permission to debit your account at all in Second Life.
Preventive Steps Against Hackers
To prevent hackers from stealing your account and linden dollars there are some settings you could change to make it a lot more difficult for them to find your IP and to compromise your account. Below you find tutorials to do this for each viewer.
Hackers could also give you a link of an outside website to compromise your IP by looking at the visitor statistics of that website, especially when it is their own website. For example someone could pursuade you to view her naked body on an external website while in reality you may even see a naked body, but you will also loose your account and money. They could also use it to install maliscious scripts onto your computer with which they could comprimise your login credentials.
To lower the risk of being hacked also use other general important protection for your computer and data. Always use a firewall, virus-, spyware- and malware/trojan scanner on your computer to make it more difficult for hackers to break into your computer in general.
Popular programs which I personally recommend for this to use together are: Comodo or ZoneAlarm, MalwareBytes, Spybot Search & Destroy, AdAware, KeyScrambler.
Unlike other malware and spyware protection software, Spybot Search and Destroy offers an option to immunize your system. Comodo and ZoneAlarm are two of the best software driven firewalls availlable nowadays. Comodo even will use a special container to execute unknown programs so they will not be able to change anything without your knowledge and approval. ZoneAlarm is another powerfull firewall which not only protect you against incoming attacks, but just like Comodo, also protects your computer against unwanted outgoing traffic. To test your current firewall go to http://grc.com. You will be amazed about the results.
Note: Do not use the automatic file sanning feature on multiple antivirus and antimalware scanners at the same time! Only use one automatic file scanner to reserve resources and to prevent software conflicts between them. Use the other ones to just scan your computer manually.
To prevent hackers from getting your IP you could also use a VPN connection which will hide your real IP and shows the IP of the VPN server instead.
Disable the viewer to remember your login credentials. When you let the viewer remember your login credentials it means it needs to save it somewhere on your computer and therefore could be compromised by hackers.
Second Life Viewer
- Go to Me > Preferences > Sound & Media and uncheck the boxes:
“Allow media to auto-play”;
“Play media attached to other avatars”.
- Go to Avatar > Preferences > Sound & Media > Media and uncheck the boxes:
“Allow media to auto-play”;
“Enable media filter (increased security)”.
Allowing media always causes the risk of exposing your IP which can be used to hack your computer. The best is to just not allow media at all, but off course it will also affect your gaming experience. If you use the above suggested settings you will be able to choose which media to play which will increase your security.
- Go to Avatar > Preferences > Sound & Media > Music and uncheck the box “Allow audio streams to auto-play”.
Allowing audio streams also cause the risk of exposing your IP. If you use the above suggested setting you will be able to choose from which sources you want to hear the streams which will increase your security.
- Go to Avatar > Preferences > Sound & Media > Voice and uncheck the box “Enable voice”.
Depending on the way Second Life handles voice calls and voice in general it could also be used to expose your IP to hackers.
- Go to Avatar > Preferences > Privacy > General and uncheck the box
“Let scripted objects see my current language setting”.
Your language setting could be used to identify your IP more easily. Because they can guess from which country you are from.
- Go to Avatar > Preferences > Backup and uncheck the box: “Login Credentials”.
Never let your computer save your login credentials. Hackers will not be able to find them then. It could even be a risk if you save your passwords in a “Word”, “Excel” or other document.
After you followed the steps mentioned in this article it will be very hard for hackers and thieves to steal your account and money.
To protect your privacy even more please also take a look at our Privacy Protection Tutorial.