Thursday, April 27, 2017

Hacked!


I was hacked. Specifically, my Facebook account was hacked. Emails and messages informed me of this intrusion on my life.

hack: to gain access to a computer illegally.

Fortunately posts were not deleted or unauthorized communications inserted on my timeline.

hack: to post 'Hilarious' statuses on someone’s Facebook profile.

I found no strange or comical comments added to my account. The hacker accessed my friends list and sent friend requests to everyone.

Hacking is a part of life in the electronic age. I know people who have been hacked. I know someone who had his identity stolen; it took weeks to straighten his life out. News articles inundate us with information on what hackers do, how they do it (which I do not understand), damage caused to individuals, businesses, even the government, and how to avoid hacking.

Obviously I ignored the advice.

Why do hackers hack?
Because they can.
Because it is fun.
Because money can be made off stolen data.
Because it impresses friends, other hackers and geeks, and girls (most hackers are males. Apparently only 2% of hackers are female). 
Some hackers, however, hack for positive reasons.

My tech savvy 20-something niece called me. Yes, we had an actual, person-to-person, verbal, live conversation. She told me someone masqueraded as me and reprised her on-line chat with my hacker who attempted to obtain personal information from my niece. As the discussion progressed she realized I was not the person she was chatting with and cut off the exchange.

Never having faced this issue before, I wondered: What do I do now?

I scoured Facebook and discovered instructions on how to increase account security. I changed my password and initiated additional security precautions.

Hopefully the hacking incident is over. I do not believe anyone provided personal information to the hacker believing the request came from me.

What was/were the hacker(s) objectives? Maybe credit card or bank fraud, or simply the high of screwing people.

I guess I am supposed to learn from this experience, but am not sure what the moral might be. Maybe to be more vigilant with Internet accounts and more aware when individuals ask to be my Facebook friend. Now I will check to ensure a friend request is a new one. If not, I can inform the real person they were hacked.

I was a victim of a common crime and luckily, as far as I know, nothing serious occurred. It will not deter me from continuing an online presence. I am not any more cynical or skeptical than I was a week ago, or any more pessimistic. I am an optimistic person, always have been, and after six plus decades this incident does not change my philosophy. 

I spent a couple of minutes worrying that another hacking experience might transpire with graver consequences, but did not agonize for long. There are too many other things in life to fret about that consume my time. Like what to make for dinner, if it is going to rain a lot and flood my street, what country Trump will condemn next, whether Republicans will tinker with my health care and social security, when another ache or pain will land me in a doctor’s office, if my newly planted garden will thrive, where I will buy pizza now that my favorite pizza store closed…

Life marches on.