The disheartening news this week is that even Blizzard had to warn us about a dangerous trojan. While it's easy to assume most PC gamers are fairly tech savvy folks, even the best of us can get snagged by the dangerous keylogger. So, in an earnest attempt to help out, we also asked your intrepid WoW Insider staff what they do to safeguard their computers. Read on, and don't forget to tell us what you are playing this weekend.
Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) I picked up Gone Home yesterday, so I may check that out over the weekend and see what it's all about. Other than that, no real plans beyond trying to get over this stupid cold I picked up from family. Bonus answer: I've been getting inundated with a lot of "your account has been suspended" emails over the past week or so - don't click on anything via email. Ever. And look at the return address of who is emailing you - every single email I've gotten has been from a perfectly random gmail address.
Chase Hasbrouck (@alarondruid, @alaronmonk) I've returned from my leave of writing absence, largely due to Hearthstone. :) I've climbed to Rank 10 fairly easily, and may see how far I can push with the delay of the season reset. I also picked up Tomb Raider during the Steam sale, and am halfway through that.
As for security, first, don't reuse passwords! This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make. It's like giving everybody you know (from people you trust to the guy you wave at as you drive to work) a key to your house. Second, use two-factor authentication on everything important (Your email, your bank, battle.net). That way, even if you do get compromised, you're likely still safe. Last, anti-virus is a good thing to have but most times, it won't protect you, just alert you that something is going wrong.
Elizabeth Harper (@Faience) I'm leveling up a new druid with my girlfriend who's never played an MMO... it's a learning experience for both of us. Security advice: Make sure WoW auto-remembers your account name, so even if your password is grabbed by a keylogger, your account name might still be unknown. Also, the launcher can log you in automatically, which means you're not typing anything, which means there's nothing to keylog. And make sure you have an authenticator and SMS protect... even if you can still be compromised with them, as this proves, it makes it a lot harder for the bad guys to get your virtual stuff.
Elizabeth Wachowski (@leeatwaterlives) I bought way too much at the Steam Winter Sale and got back into WoW at the same time, so I'll probably be playing AC4 and leveling my monk and mage. As for computer security, I just use NoScript and Avast and hope for the best.
Joe Perez (@lodurzj) This weekend I have some more painting to do and I'm going to spend some quality time with Spelunky and Mark of the Ninja.
As far far as computer safety advice. Don't open emails from people you don't know and can't validate. Don't click on links you don't know where they go and don't click on those crappy adds. If you get an email about some "suspicious account activity" or whatever, don't click the link. If you're really worried about it maybe hit up BlizzardCS and such, but most of those are just phishing attacks. Just practice smart surfing and internet habits and everything should be fine.
Kristin Marshall (@kristin) After a nice long holiday break from raiding, my guild is just getting back into killing bad guys this week. So, I'll raid on Sunday and sneak in a bit of rest before I head back into the office next week. Bonus: Don't click on things in emails unless it comes from a legit address. And even then, be wary!
Lisa Poisso (@lisapoisso) We just adopted a greyhound (her name is Navi -- "Hey! Listen!"), so I'll be offline most of the weekend being a dog mom. Hope to pop in long enough to earn You'll Feel Right As Rain by eating the hundreds of Chocolate Cookies my guild bombarded me with individually (and yes, I mean hundreds and hundreds of letters with a single cookie attached) over the holidays. (/burp) Bonus question: In my experience, most of it comes down to recognizing what a risky site or link looks like. The few times I've clicked against my better judgment have been the times I've been left with some cleanup.
Matt "Matticus" Low (@matticus) Not playing Hearthstone this weekend. Ever since the season 2 patch got delayed, I figured I'd wait a bit from playing ranked. I'm just going to diddle around and unlock the other basic cards for my rogue and druid decks. Haven't gotten around to doing that ever. The Steam sale did some damage to my wallet this time around. Picked up Age of Empires III collector's edition and Payday 2!
Matthew Rossi (@MatthewWRossi) Well, I'm playing transmog addict, so I'll be running around looking for a few pieces of gear I haven't yet managed to get despite weekly Ulduar farming.
For security advice - don't click on Google ads, or Google Curse to find your addons. Don't click on random emails even if they say they're from Blizzard. Even if they really look like they're from Blizzard. Just don't do it. Always go to the website (http://us.battle.net/wow/ or the appropriate region, if you're playing in Europe) and check your account directly.
Matt Walsh (@Rhidach) For once I was very conscientious about not buying any games during the Steam sale, so I have nothing guilting me into playing it. I've actually ducked back into playing Crusader Kings 2, and maybe create a good Wales save I can export into EUIV one day (when I buy it). I'll probably play Borderlands 2 co-op at some point, but that's it. I've got a lot of snow to shovel this weekend.
As for account security, just to be safe I don't even open emails, let alone click the links within them. Especially any chain emails forwarded from my mom.
Olivia Grace (@oliviadgrace) not sure actually! A bunch of small games from the Steam sale, already got to the end of Gone Home, so don't really feel like going through it again to fill in the gaps, and found the atmospheric noise really jarring. Was kinda unimpressed with it really. Kentucky Route Zero is turning out similar, as I've accidentally skipped a huge chunk of it and now don't have a clue what's going on! I might give up on the little adventure games and just play Tomb Raider, as I still haven't, along with some WoW for good measure. I got the Ashes of Alar on my first ever solo of Kael'thas on my US shaman, but don't have artisan riding, so I'm trying to earn some gold on a server with a truly horrendous economy.
As far as account security, I use SpyBot (get the link from the Blizzard CS page, so you know it's legit) alongside other varying antivirus programs. Currently Panda. I don't do anything at all unless I know for sure the source is legitimate, that seems a good general rule. I keep my stuff updated as best I can, and if there's a security option available, I'll usually take it.
Stacy Landry (@_vidyala) Lately I've been playing my holy paladin in LFR to get caught up on the legendary quest chain. It's been...interesting. This weekend I might check out some of the games I picked up during the Steam sale: Gone Home, Skyrim, and Borderlands 2. Gaming takes a backseat on Sunday though because I'm going to the spa. Awww yeah. I'm the wrong person to ask about security tips. I have an antivirus program and an authenticator and that's about it.
The weekend is the perfect time to kick back, relax and enjoy some game time. Are you an achievement junkie? Can't get enough raiding? Rolling a new alt? Considering taking the leap into roleplaying? Whatever your favorite way to play World of Warcraft, let us know in the comments what you're playing this weekend!