Surviving an attack…

Most who know me on Second Life already know that about a week ago my primary and 3 of my alternate accounts were hacked, stripped, stolen and violated. My entire inventory was deleted and purged, my sim was cleared and my life was sorely interrupted. It sucks. It really sucks BAD. But once you finish screaming, there are things you can and should do. I consider myself ‘whole’ again and wanted to share some hard earned advise with those of you who want to listen. You may even have other ideas and suggestions! please share in comments and help others to avoid the pain of this sort of violation.

I’m not interested in going into the details of my specific case not only because it’s not really helpful, but because I’m leaving Linden Labs to do what they do*. Yes, Linden Labs does help you and LL does their own investigation and corrective action. Linden Labs does NOT owe you anything! They do not owe you to restore your inventory or to compensate you for anything you have purchased. You can accept that right at the start. How much they are able to assist you to recover inventory depends on so many different factors, but assume it’s nothing at all and every object you can get back becomes a bonus.
Linden Labs IS very very helpful, if you approach them responsibly. You need as many details as possible and being a Premium member really helps. Contact them right away! Let them know when, what, how.. they will do their best. You may need to be persistent, but always be polite! Threatening legal action is USELESS (you have zero legal standing against any of this loss) and it just establishes you as a difficult customer, so why should they go out of their way to help you? Don’t do it.

  • NEVER – and I mean NEVER under ANY circumstances – share your password with anyone! Not only is it a bad idea in general, if Linden Labs can determine that you do that, they are not inclined to assist you to recover whatever they can help with. Who can blame them really? Yes, they can tell. They are able to see where your account is accessed from and what the pattern of that access is.
  • Know your security questions and answers! The first thing LL will ask is those questions. They may ask other things like questions from your friend list, when you logged in last, what sims you tend to visit, your Linden buying habits, things like that.
  • If your inventory has been purged – deleted and then the trash can emptied – the chances of getting your stuff back is extremely low. However! if you have items rezzed in-world, even if they are packed into other items, you may be able to recover those items! Use archive systems simple or complex but keep them rezzed out. If you are fortunate enough to have your own region, that’s easiest, but if you at least have land that you have some control over or can work easily with your landlord, LL may be able to roll back your parcel/region so that you can recover items. I’ll talk more about archive systems later but even dropping items into a prim and storing that way is effective!
  • Do NOT even ask to redeliver or recover NO COPY items. Just don’t. Now, there are a few creators that may know you well enough to send out new items to you, don’t count on it. No, LL does not “owe” you anything for those objects. The creator doesn’t “owe” you for them. This also goes for Group Gifts, Midnight Madness gifts, Hunt prizes or anything else you got for ‘free’. A merchant might put those items in their vendor system but usually, they don’t. Protect them yourself or assume they are lost permanently.
  • If you have ANYTHING that you have imported or created, don’t expect LL or anyone else to have a copy or any sort of backup; that’s your responsibility.

I’m going to do a separate post about Merchants/Creators and Re-Delivery and recovery options, but accept a few simple rules of thumb here please…

  • Get familiar with the practices of the creators you spend large amounts of money with. What vendor system do they use if any? What are they re-delivery policies? How long have they been around and are they planning to be around in the future? If they remove access to their items, even a MarketPlace re-delivery is not an option.
  • Accept that the vast majority of Animation creators and Particle creators do not support re-delivery. When you find one who does, tell them how much you appreciate it!
  • Accept that for lots of reasons, the entire world does not view sales policies the same way you do. In may parts of the world, merchants see no reason at all to maintain records of sales in Second Life. That is their choice and while you may (POLITELY) ask, they have no obligation to redeliver anything to you. In fact, NO merchant owes you a re-delivery.
  • If you do request re-delivery, BE POLITE! There is no excuse for bad manners! EVER! A “please” and “thank you” goes a long way if you want to ask a merchant for assistance. Don’t be that jerk. Just don’t. If you need to express that you disagree, still do it politely.

MOST OF ALL… and if you take away nothing else from this post.. Take responsibility for your own inventory and your own account. Protect what you can. Understand that some things (like Gacha’s) are at your own risk. Don’t think that anyone “owes” you anything, not even money or Lindens.

*Yes, the attack on my account and that of my alts was targeted and it was personal and yes, there are some indications about the culprit. The consensus among those who know is that it was a ‘brute force’ attack through the ISP. I’m not going to explain that. If you understand it, then you know what you need to know. If not, then you don’t need that knowledge.

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