Well, this has never happened to me before. My personal email account was hacked and spam email was sent out, making it look like it came from me. I received email from myself on one of my other accounts that I did not send! I received a ton of bounce-backs from email that could not be delivered that I did not send. The ones that got through to people had a different version of my email address, no subject line, and the only message was a link. If clicked on, that link led to something about Viagra, I think. One friend did open it—and then asked if I were trying to sell Viagra online as a money-making venture. NO!
I knew this sort of thing happened. A few years ago, at work, the district’s chancellor’s email sent some racy messages to most everyone on campus (thousands of people). But I never thought it would happen to me! I was careful. I had good passwords (not typical things like birthdays and such, involved a combination lower and upper case and numbers). I did not open emails from addresses I did not know. I did not click on links to much of anything in an email unless it came from a trusted friend. I always keep spam filters and security programs current and working. In response to this incident, a couple friends who know more than I about such matters said that changing my password should stop the problem. I hope so.
In response to this problem, one of my nephews shared this website about things all of us could do to keep our computers as protected as possible, and I thought I would share it with you. It is Ed Bott’s Stay Safe Online: 5 Secrets Every PC (and Mac) Owner Should Know. But I am also writing to say, “Sorry!” If you were on the receiving end of my hacked account, I hope nothing more problematic or drastic happened to you. This is certainly NOT the sort of reach-out-and-touch campaign I would ever advocate. So, please, learn from my experience and stay extra vigilant about your system’s security.
In light of my attempt to find things to be thankful for, I will share the following:
- I am thankful no further damage was done; at least so far it seems fairly self-contained.
- I am thankful for friends who responded quickly to alert me to the problem and make suggestions on how to make corrections.
- I am still thankful for email, since it offers such a quick way to connect with people, even if we need to be really careful.
- I am thankful that I can see the irony of warning you earlier in this post about problems via the Internet by saying, “Here click on this link. Really. You can trust me!”
- I am thankful it is Friday—and that I have some good chocolate in the house!
- I am thankful for the cute little book Go the F%&k to Sleep—since it reminds us how life typically unfolds and that we usually have very little control over much of anything.
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“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Albert Einstein
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“Any idiot can face a crisis—it’s this day-to-day living that wears you out.” Anton Chekhov