Account security is important! Third party programs can download spyware onto your computer, allowing your SOE account to be compromised. More seriously, it can result in identity theft. Likewise, buying plat or power leveling services can endanger your account. Below is some information on how to keep yourself safe, as well as what we can do to help you.
We encourage you not to install anything on your computer that does not come from a trusted source. Please be very careful when choosing and installing programs onto your computer.
"Compromised Account? What is that?"
Let me explain. When someone logs into someone else's account and takes all their items, their coin, deletes characters, spams obscenities, loots the guild bank, and performs any other manner of maliciousness, CS refers to that account as a Compromised Account. Customers often petition us saying, "My account was hacked, hepl pls!" In a nutshell, what happened is that the account login and password was not kept secure by the account owner or they did not protect their computer properly from malicious access.
As many of you may know, sharing your account information (login/password) is against SOE policies. Keeping account information secure is the responsibility of the owner of the account. We cannot tell you how many times we've seen a customer's ex-wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend, brother/sister, mother/father/grandparent, roommate/guildmate, child/dog/cat (yes, people have claimed their pets deleted stuff on their account "accidentally" ;), log into an account and have a field day of revenge for some unknown wrong that was done to them. That in and of itself should be warning enough to keep your login info to yourself and not to write it down where others can find it or post it on your super-secret guild website that only a few friends have access to.
"So how does this relate to Buying Plat and Power Leveling services?"
Very simple, and here is the crux of the concern we want to bring to the attention of our customers: plat selling and power leveling websites are now actively compromising accounts, stripping them of everything (and stripping guild banks, too), and using the plat they gain from this malicious access to sell to players. We've been seeing more and more instances of this.
We even had a case recently where an account purchased plat from a website plat seller was later accessed and stripped of all items by that very same plat seller, and on the next day was sold back the same plat that was taken from their account.
How does CS know this? When we investigate these issues, we can track where the money goes. Sure the plat sellers use different techniques to try to mask what is actually happening, but our logs record what they do and with some time we can see exactly what happened and take action from there.
The plat sellers and power leveling services are likely obtaining account information in a number of ways, whether in a clandestine manner such as viruses, worms, and keystroke loggers embedded in their websites, or as obviously as saving your account info for later exploitation when you give them the information to power level your character.
"What is CS doing about the plat seller/spammer issue?"
Customer Service is constantly working with our Dev, QA, and Platform teams to come up with new ways to track, remove and prevent spammers, plat sellers, etc. from doing the disruptive things they do. As the bad guys adjust their tactics to try and avoid detection, CS responds in turn and counters their activities. Heck, we even have a team of GMs specifically dedicated to investigating and removing plat selling/spamming/hacking/illegal farming accounts from our games.
As for this specific issue, when CS receives a petition from someone that has had their account compromised and is missing all their hard earned coin and items, we do our very best to assist with restoring characters and guild banks back to the way they were before they were maliciously accessed and then we go after the culprit. These investigations can take a significant amount time to do and we cannot guarantee that we can return characters back to the exact point they were at before this happened. These types of issues also take time away from answering customer petitions for other important issues involving bugged quests, items, and so on.
The bottom line is this: plat sellers and power leveling services, never trustworthy to begin with, are now actively double-crossing the very people that trusted them and have taken this problem to another level. This also means that if you have shared your account information with anyone at any time in the past, you have put your account at risk for losing the rewards of your long hours of game play. In our experience with seeing Compromised Account issues, no one you share your account information with will treat it with the respect it deserves and this situation almost always ends with a petition for help.
If you have ever shared your account information with anyone in the past or have ever bought plat or used a power leveling service, we strongly suggest you do the following:
- Change your account password immediately and change it often. Use a secure password with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
- Update your security question.
You can do both of these by going to www.station.sony.com
- Mouse over the My Account link at the top
- Click on Update Account Info
- Log in
- Click on the Change Password button on the right
- The Secret Question/Answer options are at the bottom of the page
- Never share your account information with anyone again.
- Use anti-virus software, run regular virus scans, and keep your anti-virus definitions up to date.
- Never, ever, visit a plat selling / power leveling service website.
These suggestions will help you keep your account information secure and will go a long way towards preventing your account from being compromised. Also, not buying plat or power leveling will help reduce the problem as a whole, as without a demand, they will not be able to operate.
While it is our current policy to assist with these issues and to restore characters and guild banks to the best of our ability, please remember that we may not be able to assist with repeated occurrences of Compromised Accounts and that we cannot guarantee that we can restore you back to exactly where you were when your account was compromised.
If you are interested in finding out more info about our EULA or Account Security Policy, please see the links below.
Account Security Policy:
(Adapted from a post originally made by Greeblen while he was CS Manager for EQII.)