Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Feeling Compromised

A month ago my credit card was used fraudulently. Yesterday, it appears that my email account was compromised. What else is going on behind this computer screen that I have no idea about??

My antivirus program is one of the best and has the thumbs up approval from my computer guy. I pay the extra because I am naive to the ways of the cyber world and I need all the help I can get. Yet I am still slipping through the cracks.

I make on-line purchases without a second thought. I send off emails to a group on a sporadically, regular basis. I write my personal thoughts out loud and put them out for the whole world to see. 

The internet connection is hard wired into my being. My connection to the world outside of these four walls I live in, is feeling threatened by the beasts who break through the passwords, encrypted connections and antivirus programs. It feels like someone is breaking through the deadbolt locks and security system which protect our home.

I feel violated.

Worse than that, is the fact that a group of people on my email list have been affected. 

When I sent out the word that there were a few suspicious emails going around that I was aware of, I woke up to messages from a few others on that specific email list saying that they had received similar, but different "important" email messages from people they trust.

Where did this begin and where does it end?

In my fast and furious consultation with Google this morning, one source says that sometimes a person's email is hacked, multiple emails are initiated and sent out from that email account and then the hacker moves onto its next victim. Other times, your email may be taken over by an unknown party and they stay and create a little havoc for a while.

I quickly followed the leads I found. Immediately I changed my passwords and notified those who I knew were affected and passed along all that I knew. I double checked my email settings to ensure my emails were not being forwarded to an unknown destination. I made sure the hacker had not changed anything to give them easy access to my email account.

I didn't find anything suspicious so I am slightly relieved, mostly annoyed but above all else I am feeling violated.

That is twice. Within one month. To the day.

Gadgets. Computers. Smart phones. Tablets. Internet connections no matter where you may be. We are far too connected (right, Mom?). Now people are stepping in and violating those very connections.

A smart person may turn off all of those connections. Remove the opportunity for anyone out there to steal our passwords, our credit card information, our identity and our peace of mind.

I think our world has moved too far in this highly connected cyberspace direction. You can't stop progress once it has started. Having everyone hand in their cell phones and disconnecting from the internet is akin to going back to the horse and buggy. It can be done but it isn't effective. 

There is always someone out there who will "steal our horse". It isn't the horse I'm worried about, as much as it is our sense of security.

Play safe out there in this big scary world. Arm yourself with security measures and enough information so you know what to do if you have been violated.

I am on a first name basis with my "computer guy". I try not to abuse that privilege but it is nice to know I have someone I trust at times like this.

It doesn't hurt to get on a first name basis with "Google". And your antivirus team of experts. I think that may be my next move. I will ensure I am utilizing all the tools my antivirus program provides. 

There is no sense in having a security system if you don't arm it, for fear of a false alarm. It is better to become familiar with all the ways it can keep you safe, so anyone who dares break that barrier is thwarted at every turn.

Be wary of emails you receive from those you trust that don't look or "sound" like a message your friend, co-worker or family member would send. 

Don't click on a link that you don't know and trust. And whatever you do, never, ever give out personal information (passwords, banking information, credit card numbers, SIN numbers or anything else that is your business and your business alone). 

It has become a world of "safety first", no matter where you are playing.

No comments:

Post a Comment