Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Been Hacked Lately?

My yahoo email account that I had for ages got hacked yesterday. Zillions of  spam links went out to my contact list. I'd been wanting to get out of yahoo for awhile, especially that email, because it was a conglomeration of writing/blogging contacts, friends and family, old Yahoo groups, spammers and who knows what all. So the hacker did me a favor. I now have separate accounts for friends and family, and for writing contacts.

So if any of you got a weird funky email from my yahoo account, ignore it, don't open it and delete that address. I can be reached at the email listed on my sidebar. Goodbye Yahoo.

Apparently a lot of yahoo users have been hacked recently. Here's a few basics for avoiding it:

* If you get a message with "no subject" DO NOT OPEN IT. If you do anyway, and it contains a link, DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK. Even if the message comes from someone you know, if there is no subject, do not open. I did it the day before I got hacked. I didn't click on the link, but opened the message, and the next day my email was no longer under my control.

* Change passwords frequently. I knew this and had gone around and changed passwords on my other emails, my blog, twitter account but hadn't done it with this old yahoo account. Then once I got hacked, even changing the password didn't stop it. For all I know, messages from there are still going out to my contact list. I deleted the contact list but who knows-- these people have their ways. They know how to do stuff the rest of us couldn't even dream of.

* Don't stay "signed in" on your computer. There's the little box you can check, and it's a temptation to avoid having to sign in every time, but don't do it. And when you're done with your email business, or facebook, twitter or whatever account, (especially your online banking!) sign out.

* If changing passwords doesn't fix the problem, they may have gotten control of your email. Better change accounts altogether.

There may be more you can do too, but I'm not an expert on this obviously, or I would never have become a victim. Chime in if you have more tips and info, and let us know what other steps we need to do to protect ourselves and our contacts from evil hackers.

40 comments:

  1. Holy smokes! Sorry to hear that Karen! If the hackers spent as much time starting a business/writing a book/insert legal activity here as they do stealing other peoples' information, they'd be millionaires! Multi-millionaires! Sickening.

    ReplyDelete
  2. argh. So sorry that happened to you! It happened to me a few months back, and it's such an awful invasion of privacy feeling. Here's hoping you're back to normal soon~ :o) <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. Liz, so right LOL! I read once that they make an average $4000 a week on their spam products. So I guess that's why they keep at it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Leigh, Invasion of privacy is exactly right. I didn't even want to be in that email anymore. I changed servers and everything.

    ReplyDelete
  5. most of these hackers are usually bots too and are doing this on a large scale. You might also want to report it as spam this is why most people now list their email addresses as joanna at joanna dot com. It prevents the bots for recognising it as an email address in most cases.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Joanna, yes I need to change that on my sidebar. Another good tip.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I opened your email AND clicked the link. Man, I'm an idiot. Nothing happened. Thank goodness. Praise for ESET Smart Security! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great advice. I'm sorry your e-mail account got hacked though. Why do people even do stuff like that? I have gotten spam e-mails from other people who hacked into my friends' accounts, but I knew they were hackers because they claimed they were stranded in Europe and were trying to get me to wire them money. And I thought, "Why would my friends go to Europe and not invite me?" Sheesh.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yikes! Scary stuff and great reminders. I seriously need to go change my passwords ...

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is great! I'm glad bloggers are warning the rest of the community. Thank you.

    CD

    ReplyDelete
  11. My old AOL account was hacked a while ago, everyone in my contact list got links for Male enhancement pills.
    Grumble.

    My dad had to send a letter like snail mail to aol to get my account removed. I had AOL since AOL 1.0 Seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  12. That really sucks!
    About two or three weeks ago my hotmail account was hacked. Sounds just like your one... It sent e-mails with no subject that had a random link. It only happened once though.

    Someone suggested this to me:
    Apparently some of the worms/hackers/bugs/whatever they are start either at the beginning or the end of your contact list and when they reach a contact that doesn't have a valid e-mail they stop. So I was told to create a contact with the name 001 and another with the name ZZZ. Then where you fill in the address of the contact you LEAVE IT BLANK.

    Hey, it's worth a try!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This happened to me recently! But it was gmail account. Just awful!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Honestly, have people nothing else to do but spoil other people's lives? Makes me cross.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yeah, my gmail got hit. Luckily I'd just taken my netbook in to have the viruses removed, and the geek squad gave me a few tips for spam prevention. So when the first e-mail hit I was already in the habit of deleting anything that had no subject, or even looked weird from my friends.

    Thank for the advice thought. There are never too many reminders out there for spam prevention.

    ......dhole

    ReplyDelete
  16. Like Jessica I opened your email and clicked on the link twice!!! How stupid is that. Nothing happened so far anyway! Fingers crossed.

    ReplyDelete
  17. So sorry Karen it is a pain in the ****. So far I've been lucky but I have received one of the emails.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh wow. I absolutely think hackers should be tarred feathered and made to eat.. oooh... rotten spam or something!! I had an email today in my aol account from UPS - now I'm waiting for a package from the US so I thought yeah this is legit, clicked the email open and nearly clicked on the link they provided to view my delivery details when my anti-virus pops up all red and angry saying how the link has a malicious virus!!! So the mail got deleted asap.

    So I guess the moral of the story here for me is to always keep my anti-virus software up to date!!! As well as all these other points here!

    Take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
  19. Kitty, I got one of those UPS emails too, and opened it. But when I saw the link I wised up, especially since I was expecting nothing from them duh. I'm going to be a lot more careful from now on.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ugh. What a pain. Thanks for good advice--maybe it will save someone else the aggravation.

    ReplyDelete
  21. hmm, I never check my yahoo account. Think I better! Thanks for the heads up!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yikes, sorry to hear that happened to you. After reading your post I logged into my yahoo e-mail and scanned the first page or two, which looked like the usual spam and old mailing list stuff. (I check g-mail daily).

    I do get enough of "your mailbox is bad/full/whatnot please provide your login, password, whatever other personal information to fix the issue" in my work e-mail. I sometimes glance at them, but I delete all of them. Most of them end up in the spam system we have at work which has a preview feature. Some of them want a reply while others have a link to click.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Sorry that happened! Haven't received anything from you, but I never open anything without a subject, from a strange person, or with an attachment.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm sorry. I know quite a few people who've had their accounts hacked lately, especially Yahoo accounts. Thank you for posting this to keep the rest of us on our guard.

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a drag! At least you didn't get a virus! This happened to me once, and it turned out to be a virus. Thankfully, my anit-virus program nipped it in the bud! You've really got to be careful these days, especially with email.

    ReplyDelete
  26. My email account was hacked recently; no spam, but Gmail reported an IP address that wasn't mine . . . I'm sorry you got so much spam in your account!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hey, Karen! Me, again...

    I'm hosting a First Gifts Blog Hop next weekend. Everyone is invited!! Hope to see you there - any help in spreading the word would be most appreciated. See my blog for all the deets!

    http://lizficherablog.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  28. Urgh! Sorry about that, Karen! That really stinks! And thanks for the reminder. I try to keep my accounts separate, but I'm not as diligent as I ought to be on the other stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Our Firewall prevents hacking, but I have been dumb enough to download a virus before.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hey Karen,
    Thanks for the tips. A friend had her yahoo email hacked yesterday. And apparently the same thing was happening with Hotmail accounts last month.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sorry this happened to you. Someone hacked my son's facebook and I lost all my writing, family pictures, everything. That was last month. I still can't go on FB. I'm hardly there anymore.

    Great tips.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thanks for letting us know about the spam. I'm really sorry to hear that this happened to you. It's such a pain.

    I've got a yahoo account that I've been wanting to get rid of for ages. Mostly, because yahoo is terrible. I'm glad you got out of there.

    Jai

    ReplyDelete
  33. Jai, That's where I was with Yahoo, just kinda wanting out. The hacker did me a favor really. I was so over yahoo.

    Robyn, I hear that's happening more and more on FB. Again, best to sign out when done.

    ReplyDelete
  34. How frustrating! I worry about hackers, you know how clever they are these days. I also remember your post on backing up blogger too? Great advice, thanks for sharing dear lady. x

    ReplyDelete
  35. Frustrating! My son's hotmail account was hacked. I don't open email from him anymore that doesn't have a subject.

    ReplyDelete
  36. That's all good advice Karen. Also, resist the temptation to use the same password for everything. If you do and someone gets one password they've got lots of others for free.

    I did get one of those emails, but my ISP decided it was spam without me doing anything ...

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hey Simon look at you, there's a face!! So nice to meet you after all this time! As for using the same password for everything-- YES, you'd be surprised how many people do this-- NOT a good idea.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Goodness, sorry to hear about the hacked emails. Security is such a concern these days, though I'll admit I don't do all the things they say you should. (*smacking myself on the wrist and thinking about ways to change*).

    Rach

    ReplyDelete
  39. Oops, I thought I was already following you :( But have fixed that now :)

    Rach

    ReplyDelete