Blogger: You Have Been Hacked

Today I got yet another fake email encouraging me to update my PayPal account. I knew better than to click on the link in the message. It evidently redirects to a phishing website. Sites like these steal your details (and your password if you log in), and do whatever they please with your account and email address. Writers and bloggers who use PayPal and other large sites - beware. 

Hacked email address
My sister's email address was hacked recently. She had no idea about this until my 9 year-old daughter sent her a message asking her to stop sending the 'weird' emails to her. My daughter was getting all kinds of spammy emails from my sister - including ones with serious adult content!  A few days later my husband, then I began receiving a flurry of emails from my sister. Some said, 'Hope you had a good time over the hols. See you soon. Check out my pictures'. Others asked us to click on links to buy 'pant-area' enlargements etc. I knew straight away that my sister wouldn't have sent these messages.

Fraudsters accessing your contacts' details
After hacking your email address, fraudsters not only access your important details. They also give themselves access to all your saved contacts on your list (as in my sister's case). Funnily enough, she was most worried about her preacher receiving 'helpful' emails about his love life from people pretending to be her.

Search engines and virus
Big search engines all redirect our searches - first to an address which records what websites we're interested in. So technically, we've all been hacked and infected with this 'redirecting' virus to some extent. Search engines know where we've been and sometimes, even where we're going next.  Bloggers clickthrough to many blogs each day. All our activities are duly recorded and redirected. We like the fact that when we type in the first two letters of a favourite website, it comes up in our browser. We like being able to open a new window and see the last 10+ sites we've visited. After all it's convenient - but is it worth it?

Some helpful tips to avoid being hacked
  • Always type in your Paypal address into your browser and send them any messages you think are fake. They have a great support system. 
  • (Do the same when/if your bank emails you. Keep in mind that your bank will rarely send you an email. Call them up or drop into your local branch if you think they need to talk to you.
  • Emails that start with 'Dear (fill in name of company) user' are usually fake. Real emails are sent in your name.
  • If unsure of a website, type in the address in your browser rather than clicking on a link in an email sent to you.
  • Prevent the search engines from infecting your computer with the redirecting virus in the first place. Click Here to see how you you can do so. You don't have to live with it, when there's something you can do to prevent it. 

Have you ever been hacked? How long did it take you to sort the problem out and what help did you receive? Please let us know in the comments' section. Thanks.


Anonymous February 9, 2011 at 10:24 PM  

Amanda's email account was hacked too recently, and it was scary! I did get a line of emails from her, but the subject matter was strange, so I knew something was wrong!

Great advice, Anne!

Ankuresh February 9, 2011 at 11:44 PM  

Thanks for the useful infos. My accounts have never been hacked. So, I will keep in mind your points to be safe.


Anne Lyken-Garner February 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM  

It's a violation of privacy. Akin to someone breaking into your home.
@ Icy. Amanda must've been so scared.
@ Ankuresh. Welcome to my blog.

bujju February 10, 2011 at 1:20 PM  

Some new information for me. Thanks for sharing.
New Emerging Technologies

Self Sagacity February 12, 2011 at 5:20 AM  

My email was hacked. Although I believed that it was from yahoo account. I have the option of sending gmail from my yahoo account that is why they used my gmail...They used my Gnail address to sent emails to all my contacts, different links to nasty websites. My contacts knew it was not me, but the ones that I dealt with once in a while...that is a different story.

I was concerned, not scared. A friend of mine sent me somethings to do to stop and block them from doing it again. I think Yahoo has real security issues. But then again, it could have been that they hacked my gmail account. This I haven't figured out yet.

myletterstoemily February 13, 2011 at 10:43 PM  

this is very helpful, because i do get
'spammed' and never thought that
they could be using me to get to my
contacts. makes me want to shut
down my blog as an access point.

DoanLegacy February 21, 2011 at 2:23 PM  

Getting hacked is a a scary thing! I hope everything worked out..

Anne's a published author, freelance writer and experienced editor. She's just signed her second publishing contract this year with 2 separate publishing houses. You can hire her or see her available books in the side panel on the right.
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