"Hacker alerts" are pretty common around DA and it has been for a long time. Journals warning you that there is a hacker loose at DA and will hack your account if you don't copy the journal and re-post it.
Some variations can be: "There is a hacker that will block all your friends, leave nasty comments on other's profiles, will deactivate your account, will get you in trouble with the staff, etc." another could be "Don't watch *insert deviant's name here* because they will give you a virus if you do" there are a lot more variations, but you get the idea. These journals always end with something like "If you read this warning, spread the word and share it with your friends so they won't be the hacker's next victim!"
I know, reading something like this can feel terrifying and you might feel compelled to spread the word, you don't want you friends to be a victim of this terrible hacker!
I know people re-post these journals with good intentions, trying to warn others about this supposed hacker, but... sorry to tell you, you're doing more harm than good if you do it.
These are just rumors somebody with apparently a lot of free time started to spread fear and have a little fun (for them) and if you re-post them you're just playing their game, you're spreading rumors.
The proof? First off know that this kind of rumors have existed on DA since forever, there's nothing new about them, they just re-appear once in a while. Secondly, if this was real, you would receive a notification in your Message Centre from the site administration about it, (yes one of those annoying notifications you receive and you delete immediatly) so in closing, is as simple as this: if you read these alerts in just another deviant's journal, NOT from an official DA group (such as hq) the warning is just a rumour and you shouldn't fear nor re-post it.
"But I know somebody who got hacked! The hacker is real!"Well, of course I'm not saying hackers aren't real, and yes, you always have the risk to have your account hijacked by someone else. But did you know that these supposed "hacking" cases are in reality the result of neglecting your account? Having a weak password, leaving your account logged in in a public place, telling your password to a friend, etc. It's really that simple. It's not that an individual used a powerful supercomputer program to hijack your account, it was just a kid who guessed your password.
"I prefer to be safe than sorry"Once again, you might feel there's nothing wrong in re-posting these journals "just in case", but remember all you're doing is spreading misinformation, so you're still doing more harm than good if you do that. Be safe: don't re-post.
So what can you do?Instead of spreading a rumor about a hacker, which only spreads fear among the community, spread good information about the measures you can take to reinforce the security of your account.
- Read and spread the word about deviantArt's official responses to this matter, these are reliable resources, they were written by DA staff:
- Account Security - An Update
- News to know: beware of phishing scams!
- Keeping your Account Safe
- Be sure to have a strong password! It's more important than you think. Don't use a simple, easy to guess password. Don't use words related to you, like the name of your dog, your own name, the city you live in, your OTP, etc. Those can be easily guessed by people who know you. Use a combination of caps, numbers and symbols and try to avoid obvious combinations like "abc", "asdf" or "12345".
- Change your password once in a while. If you notice a strange activity in your account go and change your password immediatly.
- Don't leave your account logged in in public places, if you go to a public library or cafe be sure to uncheck options like "Remember my password" and the like. Sometimes the browser itself asks you if you want it to remember the password. Say NO. And when you're done, be sure to log out.
- Don't give your password to anyone. I know you might have friends you think you can trust or a boyfriend/girlfriend you really love, but you can never know.
- Remember that DA will never ask for your password via email or note, if you receive a notice from an allegedly deviantart email account or an "admin" asking for your password, it's definitely fake because DA will NEVER ask for your password. (And every email account from DA will come from @deviantart.com, NEVER from hotmail or Gmail or any other, also you can identify DA admins by their symbol
, if they don't have this symbol, they're NOT an admin)
- Another excellent tip is to ensure all your security measures are also up to day for the email address you have connected to your account. If your email isn't secure malicious users can gain access and recover your password.
- One last thing: if for whatever reason your account gets hijacked, know of the correct procedure to regain control of it: FAQ #660: My DeviantArt account has been hacked. What can I do?
So there! mystery solved!
More than fearing a hacker hijacking your account, take the necessary measures to make sure you have your account well protected and don't neglect it! And instead of spreading false rumors, spread the word about these tips. Don't feed fear, spread information!
That's all for today!