A fortnight ago, I received a message from an acquaintance saying he believed my Facebook account was hacked. There’s no compromising information in it, but I had to react quickly to make sure that this wouldn’t have consequences on my contacts. I changed my password right away and posted a warning.
It was one of the “why me” moments. I should have paid attention to the red flags. Last February, I tried to open the message sent via Messenger by an American writing pal. It looked encrypted/coded, similar to the one sent by someone pretending to be me. I did tell him that I couldn’t open it, but he didn’t reply. I should have changed my password right away.
I had the same password for many years – too lazy to change it and thought I was a small, non-attention grabbing fish.
If you notice that a message has been sent that you didn’t write, you have been hacked. I’ve heard stories of hackers changing people’s email addresses, passwords, or birthdays.
How is this unethical and illegal behaviour carried out? 1. Using stored password on FB making life easier in the short-term but a security issue in the long term. 2. The hackers “fish” for your information by creating a Facebook main page’s look-alike and asking you to log in. When you enter your email and password, this information is automatically recorded for future use. 3. A software or virus that records and steals information has been installed in your device, without your knowledge.
Don’t leave your device – cell phone, laptop, etc. – unattended, don’t trust public networks, and always log out after using Facebook. These have been my social media principles; yet, I was hacked, which gave me a headache and sleepless night. I felt like someone had stolen something personal and of value from me.
How about Linkedin accounts? Yes, they can be hacked too. Dean Seddon’s 13th January 2020’s article “How to protect your Linkedin account from being hacked” advises us to:
- Link our phone to our Linkedin account and turn on two-step verification, as this “will limit the use of the account and a hacker’s ability to change or access your account from unfamiliar locations. When you log in from a new device or unfamiliar location, Linkedin will send you an SMS with a verification code, limiting the potential use of the hacked account”. You can use this link https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/544/turn-two-step-verification-on-and-off?lang=en
- Not open any PDF project proposal. Session cookies allow hackers to access your account using your current Linkedin session. “That unexpected Google Drive doc, Dropbox link or PDF which is sent to you from a connection. You’ll get a message like ‘Hi Dean, I would love you to take a look at this project proposal and give me some costs’”. If you do open this, “you’ll lose your access and find that your Linkedin account will start messaging people ‘confidential project proposals’ too”.
- Have a password that is complicated and not easily guessed.
Better be careful and secure than sorry later.