Cyber Scare in Second Life and where are the Police!

On Wednesday’s eT@lking, we had a rather interesting and worrying incident. In fact the first scary incident that I have ever been exposed to in all my four years of using online technology.

The session – a workshop on Second Life (SL) started in elluminate, with slides being shown by Marian Heddesheimer, walking us through how to find where to go, ensure audio worked etc. Unfortunately, some of the participants were late, so missed some of these introductions. As they entered elluminate, I reminded them to have the latest version of second life downloaded.

Halfway through the session, the participants who could, entered SL and were to meet Marian at a predetermined place, while   elluminate and application sharing were still used. However, one of our participants, Penny, who was relatively new to second life, started off at the ‘beginners’ island”. Two participants soon joined Marian in the predesgnated meeting room, but Penny was not to be seen. Next, there was question in the chat from Penny, saying that avatars were asking her age? They then told her she had arthritus and set upon attacking her and jumping on her. This included four avatars and two animals.

Brave Penny was so brave, in that she divorced her feelings from her avatar, kept her cool, chatted to us in the chat window, then used audio to find out how to meet the rest. Quick witted and experienced Marian was soon able to find her and teleport her to safety.

This leads to the following questions:-

  • Who polices second life?
  • How do you report cyber crime?
  • How many unsuspecting newbies have been frightened out of SL, by these cyber thugs at the beginners’ space?
  • How do we keep ourselves safe in second life and virtual worlds?
  • What extra measures do we need to take for our students to ensure their safety?
  • What measures should I take next time, to ensure that all our online participants are safe?

Cyber crime can be reported but the avatars’ names would be required. In those moments of anxiety, the victim is using all oftheir powers to try and ‘get out of there’ without observing the avatars’ names.

Who as advice for us on this problem?


6 responses to “Cyber Scare in Second Life and where are the Police!

  1. To get out: Double click the mini-map, then double click the big map when it pops up to do a short range teleport out.

    Tell the land owners or land managers and they’ll probably ban the greifers.

    To report it to Linden Labs, use help>abuse report and fill out a form. Then this is what happens, depending on who you are:

    1. The Linden Labs governance team doesn’t know you.
    -nothing happens.

    2. The Linden Labs governance team knows you and doesn’t like you.
    – at best, nothing happens, but usually they ban you. They ban you because they ban you because they ban you! No questions! BAN!

    3. The Linden Lab governance team knows you and likes you.
    – your attackers are blocked from SL for all eternity. Also, you can get away with murder. You can track people’s personal private info in SL, publish private chats, hijack half the user base’s computers in SL to use for a denial of service attack, flagrantly violate the digital millenium copyright act, etc. If you want to be in this exclusive club you can join the Justice League Unlimited, who wear spandex, violate Marvel and DC comics intellectual property rights and stalk people, or you can join the emerald development team who hacks everybody’s computers. There are also some in world police departments that are not usually full of bad people, but they usually get completely ignored by the governance team.

    In the end, unless you are a total slimeball, it’s best to forget the governance team exists and just work with land owners when you can.

    Sorry, I wish I could tell you there is a better solution to your problems, but I can’t. This is just how SL works.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Cyber Scare in Second Life and where are the Police! | On an e-journey with generation Y --

  3. Well, I have indeed recovered but was really surprised by how quickly and violently I was set upon as soon as entering SL. I can laugh about it now but for novices like me who just drop in to take a look, be warned, it may not go as planned. Next time I will have my screenshot tool at my fingertips to capture any thugs in action.

  4. A disturbing incident…I’ve been in SL for 3 1/2 years and this is a first for me. I also have to confess that I’m not sure how other avatars can rip another avatar’s clothing (without consent of the avatar). Someone who knows SL programming could probably enlighten me about this, but I didn’t think that was possible. The worst case scenarios that I’ve heard of prior to this were being “orbited” (flung across a sim).

    You sound like you’re okay with what happened now Penny, so that’s great. But I think about some of the people I know who have been attacked/raped in real life and I think that this kind of thing could end up being pretty retraumatizing for people with that kind of personal history.

  5. The only way for clothes to be ripped is if they are scripted to be ripped, so the wearer of the clothes would have to know that their clothes can be ripped by anybody. From what I’ve been told, most rippable clothing defaults to only letting people on a white list rip their clothes, so open access is something that usually has to be set. If somebody who is allowed to rip the clothing clicks on the clothing they can choose to rip it through a dialog box. I think clothing layers can only be ripped through the use of restrained life viewer, but most rippable clothing is prim clothing. I’ve never worn this kind of thing, though, so I could be wrong about how it functions.

    For an example, go to xStreet and look up the bad day skirt. WARNING: NOT SAFE FOR WORK!

    Penny: Screen shots are good for showing land owners and for putting in abuse reports. Same for chat logs. Any evidence is good, because most land owners need something more than your word before they start banning people for you. Click in your chat history window, hit ctrl-a to select all and ctrl-c to copy, and ctrl-v to paste into a notecard. Same for IM chat windows. Evidence is very good.

  6. Thank you so much for all of these tips. When I was being bullied in the beginners area I found myself clicking on many commands, etc, just to get out. After doing this my clothes (in particular my top) appeared to be patchy and torn. I wonder if this could have been a problem with the program and my computer.
    Yes, thanks, I will be ready to take a screenshot next time I find myself in SL.

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