Please keep in mind that while some of this is true and I have seen it for myself, other parts of this article mention speculation. Overall, please remember that you can never be too safe. As such, I am also passing along the rumors in case they too are true.
Hot 30 Hack Jobs
Firstly, I was there the day this all began to happen. I awoke one morning and logged into Pico. It was a day like any other day with a slight the difference. As soon as I was logged a dear friend of mine (whose name will not be mentioned for safety reasons), came to me in shock, saying, "I'VE BEEN HACKED." I was so shocked myself. I followed him to his very popular room and noticed that his favorites now sat at a sad zero.
Now, to say the least my friend was upset, as indeed he should have been. This started the roller-coaster ride of the first hacker. Many of my other friends whose rooms were listed on the Hot 30 came to me within the next 24 hours with an almost identical "I've been hacked" message. But when Kaname Slitz lost his some 25,ooo favs I believe, I began to run the other way with my own spin on this hacker theory.
While everyone was still shouting hacker, I ran with the idea that it was simply nothing more than a Pico glitch or error. Boy, was I wrong. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, your first hacker.
You might ask me one of two questions here: (1) how do you know this mystery woman is the hacker? and/or (2) how does she do it? This is the part that I think will serve you the most good. If you take anything memorable away from reading this post, this is the knowledge you should take: I have always believed that in order to keep yourself safe from these people you must have an idea of how they do what they do. This does not necessarily have to be an in-depth knowledge per se, but at least some clue as to how it's done so you know what to avoid and take the necessary precautions to avoid it being done to you.
This Pico, nightmare, left a rather gutsy message on my friends board that read, "Oops...I stole your favs :)". Normally, I wouldn't follow this kind of lead - I would have suspected it to be a Pico just mocking me and let it go - but my friend did not feel the same as I did. Instead, he searched this "nightmare" out. I followed him. What I saw next my dear friends was shocking. To prove that she was the hacker she took a room's number of favorites from 300 straight down to to zero before our very eyes ... and then brought it back up to 300 again.
How does she do this? I have a very limited knowledge of hacking and game programming, but the way it was explained to me by someone else is the way I suspect it is done, based on my knowledge of a web designing and coding. This is how she possibly does it:
The hacker will log into the Pico game using a hacking program. Then, they find the line of code that affects the room favorites number and "hide the number", changing it to a zero (0). So, are your favs really gone? No, people will still see your room under their favorites list. But inside the room it appears your favorites have been wiped clean.Thankfully, my friend convinced nightmare to restore his room favorites number, although I'm still a little foggy on how or why he would reason with this person. Then, another 24 hours later, he was hacked again! This time it was not at the hand of nightmare. Evidently, my friend had been keeping a very close eye on her and was locking his room so that she couldn't get in.
This second incident causes more questions arise. Does this person have multiple accounts and used another Pico account for this second grand theft? Or is she sharing this program with her friends? I can not answer.
Hacked by Proximity?
Now for the rumors, I can not back up these claims up with facts, but, again, I believe strongly in being protected.
There are rumors flying around lately that there are Picos who, if they stand close enough to you, can hack your clothing and enjoy deleting them. This has happened to one of my friends but whether it was because he was standing to close to the wrong person at the wrong time remains unclear.
There are many rumors of hackers who can remove your decor and delete it by entering the room, and hackers who can delete your expressions. As well, whisperings of a suspicious male Pico who enters a room and stays until all the favs are gone. It is said that he has been known to linger until someone else enters the room, in which case he returns a few minutes later when he suspects everyone has left.
Finally, there are rumblings that nightmare has multiple accounts. This Pico is suspected to be the same nightmare as the previous one on another account for ummm ... obvious reasons.
Keeping Safe in Uncertain Times
So how can you protect yourselves from these hackers? Be on alert and:
- Always make sure your room is locked before you go offline. Don't just set it to ' Pico Buddies OK'! You need to fully lock it when you go offline so that no one can enter. Take this precaution in case the hackers hack a friends account and decide to use it for evil purposes while you are offline.
- Slip into modest clothing when you are out and about. Before you leave your room to go to public or private rooms or events that may have many people hanging around, put on "noob" clothing (usually the clothing that Pico gave to you when you first began playing) or if you recycled those, clothing that cost very few Gummies. Your account is less likely to be hacked if they think they have no reason to hack you, thinking that you have almost nothing to offer.
- Guard your login information. As stated on Picostyle and here on Pico Perfect already, DO NOT give out or password or email address to anyone - not even your most trusted friends.
- Make your password difficult to "crack". Go a step above and beyond; change your password to something much stronger and more protective. Make sure you have at least one capital letter in your password and one number. This will make your password strength significantly more secure and harder to break.
As many people are on lock-down mode, so to speak, the number of rings most people get in a day are going to be drastically affected. Remember to ring your buddies whenever you can. Be kind and pass around the love.
If you see this mysterious and suspicious male Pico that makes favs disappear - or anyone else exhibiting suspicious behavior in your friends rooms - DO NOT FAIL TO TELL THE AMEBA PICO MANAGEMENT. You can't report them to Pico and expect them to do something about it without proof the person was doing something bad. Include chat history, links to screen caps you've uploaded or any other important evidence/proof of hacking.
Most importantly, get your friends to be aware and take precautions to protect themselves.
That leads me into my last and final word on the matter. Many of my friends have begun to turn on each other. One claiming that the other is a hacker back and forth. It is not surprising with all this irritability and fear that people are anxious around everyone. And you SHOULD keep yourself safe and guarded around strangers right now. But don't turn on your friends without viable evidence. This is what the hacker wants, to divide us. They get a big laugh from this; from pissing us off, from removing our hard earned favorites and items. Do not give them the pleasure and perhaps they will get bored and leave us alone.
Remember, my dear picos, protect yourselves and keep your friends close. I am sure the Pico administration will find these hackers soon. :)