String the Bastards Up!
FYI – What to do if your email is hacked/hijacked.
My email was hijacked. I started getting phone calls before 7 a.m. last Friday — friends saying they had received the following email, which was allegedly from me:
I am writing this with tears in my eyes. i came down here to Uk (United Kingdom) for a short vacation, unfortunately I was assaulted(mugged) at the Park on my way to the hotel where I lodge, all cash, credit card and cell phone was stolen from me including my wallet, but fortunately for me I was lucky that I still have my passport with me it would have been worse.
I’ve been to the Embassy and the police here, they are not helping in any issue at all and I’m having and my flight will be leaving in a few hours, but am having problems sorting my bills of hotel and the hotel manager will not let me leave until i settle my bills .
I am really freaked at the moment. Please i need urgent help.
Before leaving on a business trip to Fresno and Yosemite, I tried to open my email and discovered that I couldn’t. Apparently my password had been changed. I delayed the start of my business trip to handle this with the email experts at ATT. An hour and a half later, after PROVING MY IDENTITY, RESETTING MY PASSWORD, INSTALLING NEW SECURITY QUESTIONS & ANSWERS, I was ready to leave. I thought it was done. (Note: I have the direct line phone number for Email at ATT. If you need it to report trouble, get in touch with me.)
When I reached my destination I opened my email only to discover that no emails had come in all day – which was not only unusual, it’s unheard of. When I opened a new outgoing email I discovered that a different address was in the “FROM” line. It said Carol Purroy was sending it, but the address was not mine. The bastards had redirected all my emails back to them.
I changed it back to my own address and typed a message explaining what was going on, which I intended to send out to everyone in my address book. Guess what. All my CONTACTS had been erased. And all my SENT emails had been erased. (I later found out that all my file folders — IMPORTANT EMAILS I WAS SAVING — had also been erased.) So I had no one’s email address and couldn’t send out a warning.
I got back on the phone with ATT, was put on hold, and an hour later, disconnected. Now I was getting angry. I was afraid some of my contacts might fall for the scam and send the scammers money. I still had not seen their email but feared the worst.
By then it was late, and I had to teach an all-day class on Saturday, so I went to bed. I couldn’t sleep. But there was nothing more I could do. I’d be busy all the next day (Saturday), and had no hope of contacting anyone at ATT on Sunday, so I tried to put it out of my mind and do my job. Monday I’d be on the road all day so couldn’t do anything then either.
Yesterday — Tuesday morning – 5 full days after I was hijacked – I could maybe get it taken care of. All through the day I talked with one person after another at ATT in the email department. We’d get one thing fixed and I’d hang up, thinking it was done. But it still wasn’t fixed. All my settings had been changed by the hackers. And there are a lot of settings. There’s one through which you can FORWARD all your emails to another address. They’d filled that one in. There’s one where you can put in an “EMAIL ALIAS.” They’d put an alias in. There was something on “MY YAHOO ACCOUNT” – I’ve never had a Yahoo account – which sent all my stuff to them. They used a bunch of different emails, most of which were just a letter off mine, but in different directions.
Ultimately, I had to go to a friend’s house and get on his PC–Windows computer, so the ATT guy could access my account and see exactly what was on my screen. He couldn’t do it on my MAC. That’s where we found the Yahoo account redirect, which was the final thing. UNLESS THERE’S SOMETHING ELSE STILL TO BE DISCOVERED.
The hijackers’ tentacles were ALL OVER my account settings, hooked into every possible thing.
The last ATT guy told me this kind of thing is increasing in frequency. And the hackers are more and more sophisticated. Most of the email experts at ATT were very professional and helpful.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT POST ANYTHING ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, LINKEDIN, ETC, THAT INDICATES YOU’RE LEAVING TOWN. Email hijacking is not the only danger. Many social networkers have had home burglaries as the result of facebook, etc. postings.
I did. I posted a notice regarding a class I was going to be teaching on Saturday, October 8, in Fresno. The hijacking occurred on Friday, October 7. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I’m sure the hijackers figured I’d be traveling all day Friday, busy all day Saturday, and the ATT email experts would be unavailable all day Sunday, so they’d have at least until Monday to do their dirty work. They got lucky; I couldn’t get it done until Tuesday.
STRONGLY ADVISED: GET AN EMAIL ADDRESS THAT YOU USE ONLY FOR YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES. DO NOT PUT ANYONE’S EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE ADDRESS BOOK. CHECK IT AS OFTEN AS YOU WISH — MAYBE ONCE A WEEK. BUT DO NOT USE YOUR PRIMARY EMAIL FOR FACEBOOK, TWITTER, LINKEDIN, ETC.
The affected email address is back to normal. Please send me an email to that same old address. I will be changing email addresses, but need your email address first so I can take it with me.