Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Being Hacked Taught Me A Lesson

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It happened fast.  My email account was open through my Mac when suddenly my inbox went from zero to over twenty in less than a minute.  I clicked on the Mail icon and watched as the number grew to thirty than forty new emails.  All were error notifications that an email I sent out titled, “How Are You?” had been rejected by the server. 

The only problem was I never sent that email.  I’d been hacked.  I quickly logged onto my Yahoo account and changed my password.  I was confident I solved the problem.

In a sense I had.  The hackers no longer had access to my Yahoo account but they had my contact list.  Now my recipients were vulnerable to being hacked too.  I was bummed but I knew it was the sad reality of being in the cyber world.  People in my mailing list would know I would never send an empty email with just a hyperlink.  They wouldn’t open a link to whatever spam or virus the hacker was trying to direct them towards.  I decided to Let It Go.

Then it came right back.

“Elsie, have you seen this?”  Devin asked me.  He handed me his cellphone. 

I glanced at the “How Are You?” email he had opened. I let him know I had things under control.  No worries here, my dear.

He handed his cell back to me and said, “Look at the top of the email.”

As I looked, a knot grew in my stomach.  I may have been able to stop the hackers from doing further damage with my email but they injured me in a whole different way.

On Devin’s phone, the email had the option to see all of the recipients on the list with a simple click of a button.  One press with his thumb displayed my entire address book.  Seemingly not a big deal for most people but for me, this was a nightmare. 

Devin’s attention had been captured by an email address about infidelity.  He hadn’t scrolled down far enough to see the ones addressed to sex addiction groups along side my aunts, uncles, friends from out-of-state and worst still, our kids.  Right after disclosure, I didn’t create separate email accounts.  I kept everything the same.  Big mistake.

I shared with him the email addresses on the list he hadn’t noticed yet.  He asked what my plans were for damage control. My first instinct was to jump into action like he wanted.  I thought I should send out a mass email, let everyone know I’d been hacked and tell them to ignore the email.  Maybe even include an explanation about the wacky sex addiction email addresses.  That was the old me thinking that way.  The need to control the situation.

The new me decided to let the chips fall where they may.  The only people I told were the kids.  I let them know if they received a forwarded message from me to delete it.  They did just that.  The only people I heard from were a spammer and my daughter’s real father.  The spammer wanted to hook up.  My daughter’s father said he was doing just fine – IN ALL CAPS, that’s how he types.  He’s not the brightest when it comes to the computer and I’m thankful.

Slowly but surely I’m learning I don’t need to control everything.  They manage to work out just fine without me.

How about you?  Do you like to take control of things?

53 comments:

  1. We have assumed control!! Oh yes I have to be in control. Lately I've been better about it

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    1. That control issue is really hard to let go of, it's a constant work in progress for me. I have to make myself aware of it all the time! I'm glad your working on it too.

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  2. Sorry to hear that this happened to you, that hacker is an absolute terrible person and I'm annoyed they'd stoop that low, what a bugger.

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    1. It could have been worse. I could have missed being hacked by a few hours but I didn't. I got very lucky I was online when it happened. Phew!

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  3. control def gives us comfort...and i like your approach...as at that point there is nothing to do really...hackers and spammers suck...nothing better to do with their time...

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    1. It's so true, Brian. Control gives us comfort. I can think of so many other things I can do with my time other than ruin people's day. Grrr.

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  4. First thing is to get a different e-mail server. Yahoo is notorious for being hacked. Everyone I knew who had a yahoo account (including a former congressman) has been hacked. Yahoo security is what baby hackers play with while still using sippy cups.

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    1. But I have *the* best email address in all the land! I suppose it's time to change it though. It's been several years since I've done so. Maybe I'll even switch over to the paid one I keep hearing advertised on my talk radio show I listen to every day.

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  5. I am always worred about this! I frequently change my passwords to Facebook, Twitter, Etc.

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    1. Wise idea, OE. Better to be safe than to be sorry.

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  6. I don't get to control anything as long as my cat is around.

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    1. haha! No, Debra. You are the one being controlled.

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  7. Oh, I could talk about control issues, but I think I'll pass.

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    1. Are you trying to control what I talk about on here, Andrew? ha ha

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  8. I have to say, of all the email services out there, yahoo seems to have the most problems with hackers. I wish I could block that domain on my hotmail b/c I'm really sick of spam from yahoo. As for the entire list of emails it got sent to, I bet very few people bothered to expand it or took the time to read it. Devin would b/c he's your husband and there are no secrets, but very few others would. I do like to try and control what I can, I guess...that's human nature. Russell's trying to get me to chill out.

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    1. Now that you mention it, the only spam I get is from Yahoo. It seems my friends who get hacked are those who have Yahoo accounts. Interesting. It's just like CW was saying. Guess I will change my email address. Dangit! I had a good one too. Oh well. I doubt anyone expanded it. If they did, oh well. Not much I can do about it now. They probably chalked it up to spam anyway. Control is a hard habit to break. It's taking me a long time to give it up.

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  9. Um, control issues? Moi? Hahahaha. Oh, yeah. But I'm getting better as I get older. I've learned to let go of a lot and just go with the flow...most days. :D

    And now I'm off to create a new email account with a different server. Truly.

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    1. Going with the flow is getting easier with time but I have my days too. I find I want to stick my nose in and run the whole show sometimes. Not always the best idea.

      I'm with you. I'm creating a new a new email too. Bye bye Yahoo. Bunch of creepers anyway.

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  10. This happened to me once and I sent out a group email letting people know what happened. As the same thing had happened to most of them, it was no big deal.

    Life consists of so many variables, most of which are beyond our control and trying to control them will drive you bonkers. And then trying to manipulate those variables in order to produce a desirable outcome, well that's impossible.

    I do crave order though and I've learned that in the midst of the chaos of life there is a small space where order rules. And that's in my imagination. So I go there to play and to rest. You do it too, when you write. So when the shit hits the fan that's the time to write.

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    1. That was pretty much my line of thinking when I resisted doing anything. I figured anyone who received the email had gotten many just like it and knew the drill. Delete ASAP!

      You're right. There are to many variables in life and when you think one fire is out another one crops up. I'm a person who doesn't know where to stop once I've started. I'd just keep running in circles, exhausted.

      Yes, I love my order too. I adore when things are "just so" and neatly arranged. Since life can't be that way, I have my special place - my writing. You nailed it, Anne!!

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  11. That is why I have over 200 email accounts, no joke, I just use some randomly when I sign up for stuff and keep the crap away from my good ones. I control what I can at my sea, but the rest of it pfft I say and be on my way.

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    1. 200 accounts? Holy crap! I thought I was bad. I have a couple because of blogger and junk mail. Now I'm going to have even more because of this. You must have a heck of a time keeping up with the passwords.

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    2. nah all the crap accounts are the same one, about 20 of them are used regularly, each having a different one

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    1. It stinks but it gave me a reality check on Yahoo, that's for sure!

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  13. Sorry you were hacked dear Elsie. that suck!
    The last times I dont try to control all dear, is imposible, Im worry about some things but not all.Like Brian say control confort us, but now I try to not.
    Hope you are doing well dear Elsie!
    xo

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    1. Gloria, my dear friend! I hope all is well with you and yours!! Control is one of those things that is hard for me to let go of but I am learning and getting better with time and practice. I'm glad you are too. Hugs to you!!

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  14. It happened to me recently, a right pain in the ass!

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    1. I remember that. I got the email about single mothers from you and just laughed as I knew what had happened.

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    2. That sucks that it happened to you too, Fran!! And an email about single moms? Yikes!

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  15. Being hacked isn't nice........it has happened to me in the past and at the time it really bothered me but now I know I wonder if I would bother me as much.............but I don't want to find out........lol

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    1. It stunk but I know it could have been so much worse. I'm sorry you've been through it too. It's not something I want to go through again, that's for sure.

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  16. Yes, I was hacked too but mercifully some of my friends are just computer savvy....They didn't click on the message and just delete it. Sometimes we don't have to beat ourselves to pulp worrying about it. I just told some of my close friends to ignore my messages and that was that ~ But really, spammers like those get me so annoyed ~ Have a lovely week Elsie ~

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    1. It seems like it's happening more and more. I'm glad your friends understood like mine did. It helps to know they aren't going to fall for the spammers antics and get duped. I don't understand why so many people fall for spammers but I guess enough of them do otherwise they wouldn't keep doing it. Have a great weekend, Grace.

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  17. Oh Elsie, that sucks. The same thing happened to me not so long ago.
    It's terrible because we can't control the things that are beyond our control, such as hacking but we can limit the damage. I think that for me having been in control from an early age, I'd now quite like to pass that on to someone else. Whether I'd be able to relinquish it however, is another matter. :)

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    1. You bring up a great point, lily. I had to take control at such a young age that letting go so many years later was very difficult. At least we can both keep on trying right? I hope you and Spawn on doing well. I think of you both often!! Hugs to you guys.

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  18. Wow, how you managed to resist is amazing. I tend to like control, but in situations like that, it's just an upset feeling. I try an be realistic, but otherwise? Hah.

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    1. It wasn't easy to resist but I did it. That doesn't mean I didn't feel uneasy whenever I opened my email the next few days. ha ha. It's good that you can separate being a realistic from being a control freak. That can be hard for me at times.

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  19. I'd have put a hit out on everyone on that list, just so no one thought badly of me. I'm a fickle guy like that.

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    1. It was difficult not to do just that. Then I was afraid I'd open up a bigger can of worms.

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  20. Seeing as you tend to blog when I don't, I decided to just come here even though it was from my day off. It seems like things actually ended up going just fine for you. I think a lot of people just might not of read all the different emails but if they did, then things are out there and seeing as nothing went wrong, then it seems it was fine that they did. I personally do try and control everything myself but when things go out of my control, I try to just let it slide and accept it happened.

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    1. I'm so glad you swung by, Mark! I don't have a schedule anymore. I blog on totally random days and random times. It's a free for all over here now!!! W00t W00t!!

      I figured if people saw the email addresses they either chalked it up to being part of spam or part of my already quirky personality. Who knows? I just know I had to let it go or it would drive me crazy worrying about it. It's good you can let things slide and accept things as they are.

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  21. This is happening all over Yahoo. It just happened to my parents last weekend with literally that same e-mail (how are you?). Yahoo's just junk now, and I say this as a guy who still has a Yahoo address. I just have a really, really strong password.

    Also, I had to laugh, because my mom (God bless her) is older, and so are all of her sisters, so as soon as that spam e-mail got sent out, I immediately changed her password, and then I check her inbox and I see mail from ALL of her sisters. "Oh, I'm doing well, how are you...?" "I'm great!" "I'm not too bad." Geez.

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    1. And now I'm laughing too. You just made me think of Peanut's daddy. "I'M FINE. THANKS FOR ASKING. HOW ARE YOU? PEACE." He ends all of his emails with "PEACE" I don't know why. I thought I had the best password. A perfect mixture of letters and numbers, caps and lowercase but it still got hacked. Screw Yahoo.

      I'm starting to love your mom more and more!!

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  22. There is no control in a world that's out of control! I find it best to let the chips fall where they may.

    I haven't even checked my email in months! I may have been hacked and don't even know it! Maybe I should check...

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    1. We are pretty powerless over the world, huh?

      I hope you weren't hacked, Dan! I'm glad you haven't checked your email in months. It means you're spending time doing better things like BBQing!!!

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    2. Yes, that's exactly what I've been doing! That and practically living at the ball park. My daughter's softball team made it to the championship. That game is to be played today, weather permitting. Her first time ever playing a sport and she is on a winning team! She is doing awesome too. She has 12 hits on her last 12 at bats with 9 rbi's! That's a hell of a hitting streak!

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  23. You're a healthy lady. letting the chips fall where they may is sometimes the best you can do. That's a pretty rad sto but

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  24. I've noticed a LOT of that happening. But, I've also noticed that, in this day of smart phones and text messages, email seems to be so 2012. I don't even check it a lot anymore. Who knows what things will be like in 10 years or so?

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  25. Send you huggs! where are you? are in vacances dear??
    xo

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