Someone asked me on Facebook to write a post about my experience with having my Yahoo and Facebook accounts hacked into a couple of weeks back. They knew what "hacking" was, but didn't know exactly how one finds out that they HAVE been hacked, what to do about it and maybe how to prevent it in the first place.
Well, to make a long story short...my boss sent me an email letting me know my computer had been hacked into because someone, posing as me, was sending messages to my friends saying that I was stuck in the Philippines and needed money to get back home. I got on my computer, only to discover that the hacker was online the same time I was and was IMing my friends as I tried to tell them I'm fine...don't send money!
I eventually found out that my hacker was working out of Nigeria and yahoo had sent me a message to my alternate email address to warn me but it was too late.
I tried to change my password to my yahoo account but alas, it wasn't soon enough because by then the hacker had set up some type of virus through my yahoo account to delete ALL of my yahoo contact info, ALL of my archive files which destroyed more than a year's worth of research concerning my writing, and set up my tkd2lady email address as a SPAM address so I started getting spam emails FROM MYSELF trying to get me to go into the pornography business. Since I had to send THAT email to "spam", ANY email I get addressed to tkd2lady hits the spam bucket and I have to constantly fish out the valid emails out of there and a lot of emails don't even GET to me now...;0(...
As this little sign reminds us...don't let scams con you into opening that door to allow heartless lowlifes access to your life. It's scheming (I was SO afraid some of my friend, family, or business acquaintances would honestly think I was in trouble and lose money in the process), it's crafty ( I was AMAZED how the hacker copied my writing and online speaking style to try to con my friends), it's aggressive (I have spent weeks on trying to mop up after getting hit and I'm STILL cleaning up), and it's malicious (I am still feeling overwhelmed at all I STILL have to do to try and salvage things after being hit.) I'm not an extremely computer savy person and simply can't figure out all the things I feel I should be doing to protect myself in the future.
Could I have done something to prevent it? I don't think so except for maybe having to change my passwords on EVERYTHING each month but I simply don't have time to do that. I am careful about who gets my personal information and I never open suspicious looking emails, and I always decline when people I don't know want to "be my friend" if my research of their request determines they aren't a legitimate person. If anyone out there knows of other things I should have done or should be doing, I'd LOVE to hear it!
THAT being said, I'm still the type of person who tries to see the bright side of everything and even with being hacked and having soooo much taken from me, there are still some things to keep me smiling...
1. It never prevented me from completing the A to Z Challenge.
2. All my stories were stored in other areas so I never actually lost ANY of them.
3. I still managed to write, revise, submit, and receive a wonderful rating on one of my picture book stories during this time.
4. I only had one person "unfriend" me on Facebook and I can fully understand and respect their decision. It was a newer friendship and either they didn't know ME well enough to know I would NEVER ask for money from someone like that or they feared the hacker/virus spreading to their corner of the world and decided to set aside the friendship instead of running the risk. I get that...I can't say I might not have thought the same thing if it were me...
5. I still have all my FABULOUS friends, both in the blogosphere and within the writing community and who could ask for anything more?