Have you ever been in a situation where you log into your account, only to find out some of your xats, days and/or powers missing? Do you suspect that an unauthorized user may have attempted to compromise your account and succeeded? You may be a victim of what is called "phishing".
What is phishing?
Phishing is a trick used by criminals to steal personally identifiable information, such as your e-mail address and password. It is not a security flaw and you are not getting hacked. As long as you know what to look for, you can prevent yourself from being phished. You've probably been warned before by your online bank about phishing websites, but most users don't think or worry about being phished when using their xat account. On xat, there are criminals who want to steal your e-mail address, password, xats, days, powers, and most of all, your identity.
How does phishing work?
A criminal may create a page that looks exactly the same as xat's registered user account management page. Then, the criminal will create a link (which will redirect to the page) and come up with a convincing way to lure a user into clicking on the link. An example might be offering xats, days and/or powers for free, as long as you click on the link and enter your e-mail address and password into the text box provided. That is definitely a red flag. Under NO circumstances should you ever click on the link, nor should you enter your e-mail address and password, regardless of whether or not you think it is free. Just by clicking on the link itself, the criminal may already have your IP address.
NOTE: If you come across a page that asks you for the password that's associated with your e-mail address (not your account), it's a phishing website. xat will NEVER ask you for that under any circumstances. Also, do NOT use the same password for any other e-mail addresses or accounts you may have, even if it has nothing to do with xat. You're only increasing your chances of other accounts you have getting compromised.
Besides creating a duplicate page, there is also another way that criminals are using to steal personally identifiable information from users. What they're doing is either asking users for their flash shared object file, or asking users to download a third party program on their computer called ".sol Editor" and wanting users to provide them the "Value" that's located above the category "Number." Under NO circumstances should you provide them the value that's associated with your account. Giving them the value is just like giving them the password and you will end up being phished.
How can I protect myself?
In order to prevent yourself from getting phished by a criminal, we highly recommend you follow these precautionary steps:
Step 1: When you are logging into your account, ALWAYS make sure that you are on xat's registered user account management page. You can find out if you are on the correct page by looking at the URL bar, which is located at the top-left corner of your web browser. If the link shows https://xat.com/web_gear/chat/register.php, you are on the correct page. If it shows anything other than the link provided, do NOT enter your e-mail address, username or password on that page. Leave the page immediately, and report the phishing website by submitting a ticket under the category "Report Phishing Site." You do not need to be a paid user to submit a ticket in this department.
Step 2: When you are logging into your account, you have the option of either entering the e-mail address that is associated with your account, or your registered username. When it comes to entering your password, ALWAYS make sure it is the password that is associated with your account, and not your e-mail address. xat will NEVER ask you for the password that is associated with your e-mail address under any circumstances. In order to ensure your account is fully protected, use a password that is not the same password as your e-mail address. Also, make sure your password is alphanumeric, which consists of both letters and numbers (but not symbols). Make sure that your password is not easily guessable. As long as it contains at least 10 characters (or more), you will be fine. Do not make your password too long or you might forget it. We highly recommend you avoid using patterns or words in your password, and to always change your password on a monthly basis. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Step 3: When it comes to fully protecting your account, we highly recommend that you enable xat's account security features: Account Protection, Account Locking and Account Authentication. For more information on any of these account security features, click the respective links.
Tips for spotting a phishing e-mail
Always check the 'from' e-mail address of the email you received and check the characters aren't suspicious. Even e-mail addresses can sometimes be spoofed.
Phishers will often attempt to make the e-mail look as legitimate as possible by including a logo or professional name such as "Account Support" or "Security Help."
Hover over links in an e-mail before deciding to click on them. The link could direct you to a suspicious address completely unrelated to the text in the link. Never open or download anything unless you are certain they come from a safe source.
What do I do if I think I've been phished?
If you suspect that an unauthorized user may have compromised your account, do NOT panic. It will only make the situation much worse than it needs to be. The first thing you need to do is change the password to not only your account, but your e-mail address as well, for extra security measures. Also, if you remember the link of the phishing website you were on, report the phishing website as soon as possible by submitting a ticket under the category "Report Phishing Site" and provide as much sufficient proof about the occurrence as you can, such as the date and time of when you went on the phishing website and the date and time of when you got phished. The sooner you report the phishing website, the faster the phishing website will be shut down.
Under NO circumstances should you EVER log into another user's account, even if you've been granted permission to. You will be in direct violation of xat's Terms of Service. Failure to comply with xat's terms of service will result in your account being torched and/or deleted.