Monday, May 12, 2014

Hacking Alert

Yours truly has become aware of a number of cases in which someone's email account has been hacked.  Typically, these are folks who use common email suppliers such as gmail or Yahoo mail and the hacker gets hold of the password and sends a message to all contacts in the account.  The message may be a note to click on some website - which will likely do bad things to your computer - or  may be pleas for money.  "Help, I was arrested in Timbuktu and lost my wallet and passport... etc."  If you send money, it will just vanish into a black hole.

In some cases, it appears that the victim had an easy-to-guess password.  In some other cases, the victim no longer uses the account but did not delete it.

Basically, the lessons are that you should have a hard-to-guess password.  If your account is hacked, change the password to something complicated and notify your contacts.

Hacking can happen to anyone:

...Bob Hertzberg, the former Assembly speaker mounting a political comeback for the state Senate in the June 3 election, learned last week that his email account was hacked. So, how would people know they were receiving a hacked email, as it asked people to contribute money — much as all the other emails they received from Hertzberg and every other politician do. In a mass email sent out last week, Hertzberg urged voters to look closely at the anything they receive from his campaign. “The dummy account set up by the hackers uses two R’s in my first name (rrobert.hertzberg19),” Hertzberg said, adding it is not known if anyone contributed to the faked account and that he has reported the crime to authorities. He believe it was a sophisticated operation based on the East Coast.  “They went into my email, got the name of my accountant and sent a note asking that my bank be notified to make a wire transfer,” Hertzberg said. “Fortunately, the bank checked with me, and we were able to catch it." ...

Full story at

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