You’ve got mail…. (hacked)

There has been a lot of talk this year regarding cyber security, Fraud and password hacking.  In particular there was an interesting Deloitte report that predicted that in 2013, 90% of user-generated passwords will be vulnerable for hacking; a combination of increasing computer power and the shortcomings of us humans to generate and remember many/evermore complex passwords.

Yesterday it seems (for me at least) the Deloitte prediction came true.  My online email password was hacked and spurious links sent to my entire address book.

Fortunately I was able to identify this quickly, change my password and stop the attack.  7min.  It was kind of scary and definitely uncomfortable.  I was lucky to be online.

However, I learnt a few things yesterday from this experience and wanted to pass on.

  1. Even if you are careful, yes this can happen to you.  Take precautions and plan ahead.
  2. A strong password is not long enough.  Use multiple words, more than 8 characters, numbers and alternative characters.
  3. Do not store lots of contacts in your online address book.  This limits the exposure if ever compromised.
  4. Always have an offline backup and download of your contacts.  In case you account is ever compromised.
  5. Do email your contact list to let them know what happened, that the previous email was spam, and don’t click on the links.  Do this quickly if possible.  Use another email account (your other may already be blocked).  The feedback I got was this was appreciated.

It happened.  Hopefully the recovery was quick and is complete.

There was one bright light in all this.  It connected me with some contacts I had not reached out to for a while.  People were kind and I received some very nice notes back… some quite funny.

…. no I am not sending you $1mm nor am I renting out apartments or selling beauty products……

Always good to connect.  There are some good people out there… made me laugh.

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