Please note, this is not a food post, it is rather for me what has been a horrific event. Sure from time to time I have been hacked. It’s either me, or my website, I have been online for the last 20 some odd years, and it will eventually happen.
What was different this time? It was more vicious and it was more personal. I got a message on my what *WAS* my Facebook fan page. Saying I had violated something, and I had a complaint about a post that I shared. What did I share? Why Whole Foods Customers Are the Angriest Customers (BTW I shop at Whole Foods, they are close to where I work). So I walk out the door from work, and next thing you know I can’t login to Facebook, so I reset my password. I login, then I find myself logged out. I reset my password again, then I am logged out. I check my Google mail, guess what, I am logged out.
I go back and forth a few more times, and the next thing you know. I can’t login to Facebook or Google. What is tied to Google? Sadly, just about everything. My phone uses Google voice, my cell phone became inoperable until I reset the phone to pull off Google Voice. This is about 20 minutes after this starts, I am in the middle of rush hour traffic, trying to get home as quickly as I can.
I eventually regain access to Google, and guess what. These folks deleted all of my email. All of it. I have been on GMAIL for about 7 or 8 years. What was on there? Emails from people that have passed away. Friends that I have lost to cancer. Fun emails from people that have slipped out of my life. Emails of encouragement when I lost those who I love. This was a heartbreaking. Then what did I realize, oh crap, they have access to everything I have purchased online. They know what I have sent out in email. We do everything in email now days. (Let that sink in for a moment or two.)
I called my bank, I called my credit card company. Then I began to think how do I secure a website I have worked on for years. I panic, I am talking to IT friends, asking what do I do. Oh I sign up for Identity Lock, I sign up for lasspass. I have spent the last few days trying to remember everywhere I bought something online, telling people I know that I have had their passwords or done work on their website, your data may be compromised.
I don’t know the full impact of this. I really don’t.
What did I learn?
The Facebook Help System is Complex. I filled several notifications, filled out several forms stating what happened. No response. Nothing. I filed for a Trademark violation, I have a pending Trademark on the term ‘CopyKat Recipes’ thanks to domain squatters that have offered to sell me a phrase that I have been using online for 20 years now for prices between 25 – 56 thousand dollars. That gets me a response saying I need to talk to the administrator of the page. Oh yes, the administrator who hacked my account, removed me as the admin to my Facebook Fan Page, and then deleted my old Facebook account.
I won’t even get into how loosing some of my Facebook friends feels like. Sure I may not be close personal friends with everyone. I have “Facebook Friends” like you do. Now where am I going to get those extra lives in Candy Crush? I don’t know. Actually I reconnected to old school friends, I get to act like a peeping Tom while I read about how marvelous your life is (ok now I am just on the self pitty kick).
Google will help
Once I secured my account, I had most all of my email back. The last 4 years. That was awesome. Did I mention I got that back in about 90 minutes.
I love being connected online, but it is a dangerous place. What other lessons did I learn?
10 Tips to Slow Down Hackers
1. Be paranoid. No really, someone is looking over your shoulder grabbing your info. Always.
2. Never use variations on passwords. Use completely New and unique ones each time. What didn’t get hacked into? My Paypal account, Amazon, other email addresses. Why? Completely different passwords, or they didn’t have enough time.
3. Use a site like StrongPasswordGenerator.com they will come up with passwords you will never remember, get ones with at least 15 characters, they are harder to break.
4. Store your passwords which you can’t remember on something like LastPass.com. It will securely keep your passwords you can’t remember for you. It will help you generate ones. It will also work on your cell phone.
5. Whenever you can use a double verification process do so. Google will allow this, Facebook does too. (This works well unless you violate rule #2).
6. Clear our your cache when doing financial transactions online.
7. Keep your browsers up to date, and make sure you are using software that will assist you with Malware
8. Keep track of where you share your information online.
9. Stop linking everything to your Facebook login, if this is compromised and you didn’t create separate ID’s for everything, guess what, you have lost access to everything else you signed up using Facebook. Bad move in my opinion.
10. Don’t consider using a universal sign in username, pick new unique ones. You are just making it easier for someone to track you.
I have a large frustration because I have lost my Facebook Fan Page, I spent years working on it, and getting to know folks. I can’t even start another one at this time, because Facebook claims it isn’t the real one. Really? I am at a loss on what to do about this.
If we were Facebook friends, and we aren’t now, look me up. There is a good reason why we aren’t friends now.