Spokane Regional Networking, Social Media, Professional and Business Development
This morning I received a message from a friend saying she needed some help. Her sister was ill and she had to fly to Madrid to help her. She needed $1000 to pay for the surgery and could I help. This is one of several people I know who have had their accounts hacked. This put me on red alert. How are others protecting themselves from being hacked?
I am sorry I don't understand. Is the message from the "friend" in Madrid the hacking e-mail. Were the people you mentioned accounts hacked via this request for the $1,000?
The message was from my friend's email address. It was written as if it were her asking for help saying she had to fly to Madrid to help her sister who now needs an operation and she needs to borrow money. She said she would check her email every half an hour. The people who hacked into her account have an account through Western Union in Madrid where they would receive the money, as if it were her. Does that make sense?
The question I have is what is the best way we can protect ourselves from not getting our emails hacked into?
Well I have had this experience when I had a .netscape.net account. And with this account I couldn't change my password. So I opened a new account with AOL and you can change your password. That is the only thing that I know to do to stop the hacking e-mails is to change your password. I believe it take some time for the hackers to get your new password. Also, what I learned was that these guys don't do or want to do any harm to your account because all they want is your contact names and e-mail address so they can sent out these crazy e-mails requesting money or included some stupid link that gets to some site that they want you to review. The main thing to do is DO NOT RESPOND...and delete them. The worst thing I discovered is having all my friends/contacts get copies of these goofy e-mails.
Anyway, their not going to plant a virus because that would defeat their purpose.
Thanks Marilyn, that is helpful. I will change my passwords for my accounts.
There are two scenarios that are likely with your friend. Her email account at her ISP was hacked - probably an IMAP account which would give the hacker access to her contacts, mail, etc. Getting control of her email account back and changing the password, or having it shut off by the provider if she can't gain control of it again, takes care of that problem. Tell her to use better passwords in the future.
The second scenario is that her *computer* was hacked. It happens all the time, either by manipulating her into unwittingly giving the hacker access, or by being infected by a trojan which opens access up to the hacker. Windows computers are particularly susceptible to the latter.
If the second scenario happened, changing her passwordsmay do no good at all, because the hacker will have installed backdoors withwhich to gain access via other means and can figure out passwords via software running on the inside. Everyone is equally susceptible to the former - the use of your friends email in an attempt to solicit money from you is a good example.
What you can do depends to some extent on which OS you are running. If Windows, you ought to be running Windows 7 (not XP, because there are too many exploits and MS isn't supporting continued fixes for them; not Vista, because its a joke). You should buy a subscription to the latest anti-virus detection software and keep it up to date. You should not hook your computer directly to the Internet unless you have firewall software running (if it is behind a router of some kind, it will be protected from direct attacks via the NAT interface).
If you run a WiFi network, make sure you are running late model WPA-2 encryption on it, preferrably with CCMP-based encryption. WEP can be broken in a few minutes by high-school-aged geeks. WPA (1) can also be cracked now, and there is software out there to do it. Once someone has gained access to your internal network, they can packet sniff all kinds of other things from the traffic on it. Here's a reference:
If you're running a late model Mac, you should be on OSX and naturally protected from most types of assault. Be careful about Java aps you allow to be installed, as they could deliver trojans. Same goes for Linux.
I switched my wife over to Linux ten years ago after her Windows machine was compromised three times in six months. She's never had a problem since then. I've been running Linux for fifteen years and never had a problem at all.
Thanks Jeff! This really heightened my need for security around my business and information!