Sunday, November 29, 2020

Tips from the Treasurer: Hacked!

And I'm One  
 

Santha suggested that I do a weekly article on financial tips.  Well, I can think of two; after that I'll have to steal from some other blog.

My first tip is to update and change all your passwords on a regular basis.  I was hacked on six accounts last week: Amazon, Spectrum, ebay, Walmart, Google, and PayPal.  I contacted all my money accounts (and my mom's) and made sure that they were secure.  I didn't loose any money.

The nightmare began. 

I've now changed my password on Amazon over ten times since Monday.  I would change it once, and then it wouldn't accept the new password.  Or the new one would work on my desktop but not on my phone.  Then my amazon prime video kicked me off my phone, then one TV, then another. 

Another problem was that my original passwords had been reasonably easy to understand and remember, as in "Oscarevil14".  As they suggest, I used more "secure" passwords like "CghJ87^fboi))8jwh902i".  Now this may be secure, but two problems exist.  The first is that it's impossible to remember, so if you loose your list of passwords, too bad.  The other problem is that I could rarely type the mess of letters and numbers in correctly.

Needless to say, all this activity caught the eye of the computerized security eye of Amazon.  I was shut out several times.

And this was just one account.  I went over my list of passwords and accounts, changed what I could, actually contacted companies to cancel accounts, and deleted, deleted, deleted.

I've discovered nooks and crannies on my computer and phone with lists of websites and passwords that go on forever.  I have yet to tackle all the different passwords for my desktop, laptop, phone, Apple ID. iTunes, iCloud, system preferences: users and groups, key-chain, computer account-printer, Airport, network code, Microsoft account, and on and on.  One problem is that I don't really know what most of these are so I hesitate to touch them.

Oh, and I lost the SPARTA blog a few times.  It still existed, but I couldn't access it to edit.  My editor's version was blank.  But, abracadabra, it has reappeared.  For now.

So I can attest that all those anti-scam warnings you receive and know you should be following through on are nothing compared to the headache you'll have to go through if you wait for trouble to happen.  I was lucky and didn't loose any money.  But the time and vexation could have been avoided if I had followed the suggestions given by law enforcement, senior organizations, and the government.

In the end, I'm going to take my desktop, laptop, and phone into the experts and have them sanitize all devices.

Here's some links with excellent guidelines:

https://www.ag.state.mn.us/Consumer/Publications/HowtoProtectYourselfAgainstHackers.asp

 https://www.savethestudent.org/extra-guides/32-ways-avoid-cyber-hacked.html


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