Bad minded people have two ways to acquire the control of your accounts and act ‘in your name’: your mailbox and your access accounts. Let’s see how it happens and how you can protect yourself.
Because an illicit usage could place you in a situation you hardly could get out.
Obviously, the problem is your password: it’s too easy to guess and to crack, even if there is a need to use tools.
Note that these are mostly the passwords for the Internet mailbox (such as @gmail, @hotmail etc.) that are hacked. However, it’s not impossible when your provider allows you to select your own password.
Note also that when your computer is infected the malware can look for your passwords and use them even if they are strong…
Another person uses your mailbox and throws you out. This pirate can send mails in your name and you become someone ‘bad’.
I have several examples where the pirate sends a mail to all your contacts telling them that, while traveling abroad (frequently in Africa) you’ve had an accident or have been mugged. You urgently need money to get out of this situation and come back home.
None from your contacts unless they want that the pirate becomes rich.
How to get out?
Close your mailbox with the provider and open another one with a stronger password that you’ll regularly change.
But how can I do that as my account is out of my control?
Good question… have another mailbox, if possible with another provider (included at work). It allows you to inform your contacts of the actual situation and to provide them with a new address… just as you do after a physical move (at the post office).
Hence, you should safely keep a (paper?) copy of the data provided by the provider, so you can prove you are the right person who calls to close the hacked mailbox.
Be it Facebook, any other social network or your work account, your access key is the duet: identifier + authenticator.
As soon as someone guesses your identifier and password, he enters your account with all your rights and privileges: publish texts and pictures (not always funny) on your wall or, more slyly, by changing your confidentiality rules. He adds new “friends” who will be able to comment, ‘like’ and share contents.
The number of suicides following these usurpations should make you think twice. If the next one isn’t you, it might be a friend or someone of your family.
As long as you still have little control, change your password to an unbreakable one. Or call the police and inform your contacts by email that your Facebook account has been hacked. Hoping your mailbox hasn’t been also taken out of your control because you use the same password!
How to prevent?
You’re ‘in’ when you are on the web and open to the virtual world. Your name isn’t secret. But the email account that identifies you to Facebook – and the associated password – should be specific: by example your emergency mailbox.
Your password should be difficult to guess and crack. Change it at least twice a year.
If you have an account on another social network (with another password, please!) use it to correct the situation.
There are other dangers while using emails and social networks accounts without paying sufficient attention. I’ll come back on this next week.
Your questions and remarks are more than welcome.
See you soon, safer with your information.