Collins Community Credit Union

$#**+! I've Been Hacked!

Published on Sep 13, 2012

I consider myself fairly tech savvy. This kind of thing only happens to little old ladies, not to me!  Guess again. It can happen to you, and it did happen to me!

I was checking my work email one morning when I noticed there was an email from my personal email account. At first I wasn’t alarmed. I often email myself work ideas from home.  Then, I noticed it was sent at 2:38 a.m. Wait…I wasn’t doing any late night brain storming last night.  I clicked on the email, it was clearly spam. I began to panic!  I pulled out my phone and brought up my personal email. I was horrified to find it had been sending mass emails to my contacts. I had been hacked!

I’m still not exactly sure how it happened; but, luckily I was able to get in and change my password.

So what have I learned from this?

Use Complex Passwords. I had always used passwords that were easy for me to remember and in being so were easier for hackers to figure out. When creating your next password incorporate capital letters, numbers and special characters to increase its complexity.  Sound kinda tough?  A simple trick is to use special characters as part of a word. A $ can function as an s, a 1 as an i, and the + symbol easily takes the place of a t.  By using this trick, the password $eCur1+Y (security) becomes easier to remember, and much more secure.

Use Unique Passwords.  Each of your online accounts should have a different complex password.  Using the same password across multiple accounts makes a hacker’s job even easier.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. How am I going to remember dozens of unique, gibberish passwords?

Store Your Passwords Securely. You may want to consider purchasing some type of password management system.  A password management system allows you to store your passwords as an encrypted file that can only be accessed using a master password, which again should be very complex.

It happened to me…has it happened to you?  What did you do? Let us know by commenting below.

Cherie T.
Marketing Assistant/Graphic Designer

Read previous Triple CU Scoop posts

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