Being the Uber geek that I am I never imagined this could happen to me, but it did and although I am still fuming at the person who did it, whom I will get sooner or laterÂ in this life I thought it was necessary that I tell you all my experience so that you can prevent it from happening to you.
The experience I am talking about is being hacked. Yes I got back from a family outing on Saturday night to see my Iphone inbox full of emails from facebook and my yahoo email that “details” had been changed inside these two social profiles. The Time line was as follows
429 pm – My yahoo email was hacked
430 pmÂ – Hacker user Fbook lookup to find the yahoo email in use with Fbook and thus started the password reset procedure which made Fbook email a password reset mail to it/them on the yahoo account.
431 Pm – Facebook account was hacked
432 pm – Passwords were changed on both profiles
433 pm – secret questions were changed on both profiles to limit recovery
434 pm – Attempts were made to de link other accounts/alternate accounts from my facebook, success was achieved with my hotmail but the hacker failed on my cyber net office account whose password is different from all other social profiles and accounts I have.
How did I found out about this? I only got to know because the hacker could not de link my cybernet account which kept on getting emails as to how specific actions were taking place within my social profiles it was linked to. That is how I have the time line as well, that is the account I used in Yahoo recovery to gain back access and then through Yahoo to gain back my face book account, thus getting control back within an hour of finding out what had transpired.
Imagine what would have happened if I did not have an external local Isp account as alternate email to my yahoo, which has all the contacts of everyone I know in it. I have had the yahoo mail account for over 10 years now. Imagine how many peoples info that person had access to on Fbook for those 6 hours from 430 to 1030 and you can begin to fathom what sort of nightmarish possibilities an event like this can have.
So what do we do? Can we de tangle ourselves and our lives from all this digitization that has taken place? In one word No, once the internet has something uploaded to it, it generally stays there in one form or the other. Yes we can close some social profiles down but then we can also close our front gate and never go out to socialize, we do not do that do we? So why should we give up on today’s essential tool’s because of the risks they pose? We can however learn to be more careful with them and more secure. So lets see what can be done?
A) Stop adding random people to Facebook even on limited profiles.
Some of us are guilty of this as we are either in an industry/media where we have to make friends with a lot of new people or have certain aspects of our lives that must be shared, for instance our blogs for whom we have pages and fans and then they add us and what not. Big no no, even on limited profile, not because they will hack into your account but because they can be vulnerable and be hacked which in turn would make your account a target as well. Yes I know by this definition everyone should remove me from their face book list, well if thats what it takes to be safe so be it. If you do not know me, remove me.
B) Stop using your primary email as your facebook login
I know this is hard to do, as it is convenient to just use one email but normally as it happened in my case, if said email account is hacked your social profile is as defined above easily accessed next. So its better to keep a different email log in for social networking and to not have that login visible in your profile (something easily achieved by privacy settings)
C) Make sure you know who is using your computer and they know what not to do.
Sometimes we let our kids use our laptops or pcs in our supervision, they may be playing farm ville on face book and click on an ad which can lead them to a phishing site which could get our account hacked pronto.Â This happens often and not not all phishing sites have porn on them so we would have them blocked by whatever filters we have put in our browsers, we have to make sure the person using the pc knows that they cannot click random ads.
D) Regular anti virus sweeps must be made
I know I am beginning to sound paranoid now, but it does not hurt to have a good anti virus software which you use to make weekly scans for baddies that might have gotten into your system in the form of malicious cookies, or trojans or malware of any kind. I recommend Avira which lets you have a good scanner for free. You could say but dood you were hacked, yeh I was but not through a resident file on my system!
We must keep changing our passwords regularly, and we must have different passwords for accounts linked to one another so if one is hacked the hacker does not get access to all. This is of utmost importance! A good password is usually a mix of numbers and letters and not something obvious like your birth date or the birth date of your kids or their names or a combo of the above.
E) Report, Report Report abuse!!
Last but not the least, it is advisable to report any suspicious activity for instance a weird email by a friend with random stuff in it or some kind of message on a social profile coming from someone which does not make sense, first to the origin and then to the service. This simple action alone can help stop the spread of a lot of malware to different people.
I hope some of this info is helpful to all of you out there, ive been told I must be doing something right to be hacked, but frankly I just feel violated.