Sunday, February 13, 2011

Email Hacking and What I Have Learned

This morning I was studying Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Thousands of years ago he wrote, "trustworthy testimony; the sharing of one soul in the wisdom of another, rests on the ultimate oneness of all souls." Since we are all in the same boat(Albins) and all have computers, email systems and both enjoy the goodness of these things, we all have to deal with the failings of these things. My good buddy, Too Tall Tom, asked me to write down some things I have learned in hopes that others can benefit. Another reader, thanked me for this blog and hoped that I would continue writing it. As long as I own Shatoosh and Pashmina, the blog will live on.... have no fear, Hira is here.

While I am not a geek, I do have friends that are and this is their advise, which may be helpful to you. If you have other hints, please let me know and I will be happy to share.

Account Holder:
1. If you are the hacked account holder, immediately, change your password and run your anti-virus program. Let your email server know that your account has been hacked and your email address book is gone, along with all your emails saved in file folders. Then start the process of retrieving your address book through the security system of your server. Even though I did follow Yahoo's process, I can not retrieve any addresses.

2. Years ago I printed up a hard copy of my address book, but did not have later versions of it. I think from now on I will print a new version every January for a back up hard copy. So, now I am spending hours retyping contacts into my new email account.

3. About a month ago, I did go into all my saved emails from the Albin Cruisers Yahoo Group and print up all my favorite information and put them in a folder for safe-keeping on Shatoosh. So for now, rather than saving them online, I will continue to hard copy items of interest.

4. During last month, as I annually reviewed my household/personal account information, I realized that I did not have a master list of all my online accounts that I use. So, I composed that list and I am very glad that I did. As it helped make the task of changing my account information easier.

5. My geek said that I should get a new email sever, as yahoo and hotmail accounts are hacked into the easiest. Gmail was more secure and you have the option to use the HTTPS FORMAT. I now have the 2 servers with different passwords and have created different passwords for my personal, financial accounts.

6. A friend said when she got the bogus email, " just send all your contacts an email, telling them that it is a fraudulent email." A great idea, but not effective, if all your contacts are gone out of the address book. I was very happy that I could send out a message immediately to thousands of people who read my blogs. I also sent a message to the Albin Cruisers Yahoo Group, which has thousands of members, and to whom the email had been sent.

Recipients of hacked email scams:

1. Do not, open or reply to this type of email. It is nothing but a scam. Report it as Spam.

2. Do not try to intervene or solve this problem. Some of my friends sent a reply with a trick question that only I might know the answer. Some called friends in London to try to find out the legitimacy of the phone numbers.

3. If you think your email/computer/identity could  be compromised, as a result of this email, change your passwords immediately.

4. Seriously, ask yourself, "why would any legitimate friend ask you for money using an email?" " We all have lots of email contacts who are not in our personal, immediate circle. So, to get this type of email from Joe Blow(who is a contact, but you met him once 5 years ago and have only shared 2 emails), means only one thing.....Fraudulent Activity. Do not be so gullible.

5. My cell phone was ringing and beeping with calls/texts and I was getting lots of emails. While many people were concerned, I did not have to hear from everyone.  People in my closest inner circle/family had notified me long before dawn and I was on top of the situation. So, if you are in the distant rings of communication, rest assured, that the person knows about the situation and is dealing with it. Send an email a few days later.To have the quiet and peaceful hours to tend to this is important. After I had done what was needed, the phone/ computer were turned off and I continued to go about my schedule as planned, which was to visit a friend who lives in a subterranean dome home, where there is no cell coverage and is off the grid.. We visited in peace and quiet, had a nice lunch and later, I returned home and resumed my process of  doing what was necessary. By then, Yahoo had responded and given me my first list of instructions.

I look at this, not viewing through the spectacles of victimization, but rather as an opportunity to become clearer in managing my personal accounts, a way to cleanse the way I was doing things/managing things/creating things. As a result, my affairs are in better order, I have a new email server which I really like and find it much easier to use. I was able to observe myself in this process and am happy to report that over the years of having Meditation and Reiki in my life, I have become an action figure rather than a reaction figure. Ten years ago I would have been worried and freaked about this. I like the new me.

There was one concern, I didn't hear from Too Tall in all this commotion. I thought that perhaps he had flown to London and was tracking down the fraud scoundrel and that he might be picking me up a new purse from Harrods Department Store. I finally had to email him, as his silence was too deafening, for me. He had not gotten the  hacked email, so thought I was going off my rocker, when I was asking  him if he was in London, buying me a purse. ??What?? His reply delights me: "Perhaps I'm wrong, but I can not picture you with a purse. Unless, it was made from sail cloth and had an Albin logo on the side with faint traces of diesel around the bottom."