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Is it safe to receive items from people of any sort?


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The short answer is no.

While assets in Second Life can't contain viruses, they can contain scripts that report your in-world movements or actions. They can also ask to withdraw Linden Dollars from your account. They can (in limited cases) determine information about your real life location, and retrieve identifiable information about your computer.

It's not safe to receive ANY item in Second Life, but it probably is safe to trust certain providers of items (e.g. stores you trust). Just like everything else online, use a reasonable amount of caution and learn more about the risks for yourself.

The best way to avoid getting exploited by this stuff is figuring out how to protect yourself. :)

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Freya is almost completely right. There are a few things you can recieve that cannot harm you. Skins, clothing items (not attachments), notecards, textures/snapshots, animations, and scripts cannot contain scripts. And scripts can only execute when inside things that have been rezzed, either on the ground or as attachments. Things sitting in inventory are harmless. Unfortunately, it's not possible to determine if an object you have been given contains a script until you rez it, so the only surefire safe things to rez are those that cannot contain scripts.

In your case skins and animations (not things containing animations, which would also contain scripts) are safe. Hair could contain scripts, so be a li'l more wary.

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NightOfBats wrote:

So lately, I've been getting items such as hair, skins, and animations, is it safe to install these things, or should I be aware that they may contain viruses, I really know nothing about computers, so I'm sorry if this is a idiot question..

In addition to the comments about safety, bear in mind that many of the things given to you by random acquaintenances may be illegal copies of things. Most things in Second Life are set by their creators to either be copied or transferred, but not both. There are certain things floating around that were illegally copied and can be both copied and transferred - these are the most likely kinds of things to be given away for free by random people instead of being given by a store vendor.

You probably won't get in trouble for taking them and the person giving them may not be the copier or even know they're illegal copies, but it's the sort of thing you should stay away from.

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Theresa Tennyson wrote: ...the person giving them may not be the copier or even know they're illegal copies...

Perhaps also worth mentioning: The person giving them may not even be aware they're giving anything. Indeed, if you receive and attach some of the nastiest of this stuff, you too will be unwittingly giving it away to strangers. (So don't be too surprised if the "giver" pleads ignorance of their deed; they're very likely telling the truth.)

Here's a related question: Is it easy to find sandboxes with scripts disabled, so folks can briefly rez stuff and make sure it doesn't contain scripts? (Also, hmmm... at such a sandbox it might be useful to provide instructions for detecting scripts in child prims, possibly well hidden.) Or... maybe it's misguided, this attempt to make it safer to receive, as opposed to just avoiding all gifts in the first place.

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