Random Rants

I Was Hacked: Tips on Protecting Your Computer, Your Email and Yourself!

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Last week I opened my hotmail account to find an email from iTunes with a receipt of my recent purchase. Only problem was – I didn’t make any purchases using my iTunes account! I immediately opened the email (probably not the smartest idea in the world), and thankfully it was a legitimate email and receipt from iTunes for the amount of $89.99 for an app.

Um, excuse me? There’s an app that cost nearly $100?  Are you kidding me?

It’s official, anyone that has actually purchased an app costing that much has officially lost their mind, and yes, you heard it first, and no, I’m not taking it back! If you have purchased an app that cost anywhere near that price point, I can only hope that it comes with fragrant unicorns, flying leprechauns and a weekly voucher for a pedicure for life.

Ok back to the story.

So I contact iTunes who tells me to contact my financial institution, or nicely put – Too $*&@ bad – it’s your problem, not ours!  So, I continued to bug contact them (and yes, I finally did resolve the issue and funds were placed back in my account) until I finally collapsed in bed that night from exhaustion. Yes, things like this exhaust me and make me very angry. I awake the next morning and eagerly check my email, hoping that the CS will find mercy on my soul and give me a refund, only to find a number of emails from Paypal with the subject line “reciept for your recent transaction”!

Totaling a whopping $200!

No way can my karma seriously be this bad! I rarely step on a bug, i’m nice to almost everyone, and I even help old ladies cross the street. How is this possible? A few more hours and loads of phone calls later, Paypal returned ALL of the funds to my account. GO PAYPAL!

So how do you protect yourself from this happening to you? Here’s a few suggestions…

Use Original Passwords - Don’t ever, and I mean Never, ever use the same password for more than one account. Give each and every account a unique password. You may also want to consider changing your passwords monthly or bi-monthly to ensure your security.

Protect your computer – although many operating systems have data execution prevention built right in, it’s wise to take extra steps, implement aniti-virus software to ensure content security. Just because my online accounts were hacked, doesn’t mean that the perpatrator didn’t get my information by hacking my computer.

Keep your Information to Yourself – many companies will ask you if you want them to store your credit card/bank info for future purchases. This is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea, and although many computers and programs now have application security built right in, do not store any pertinent information in your computer. It’s perfectly safe to make purchases online, but make sure that you erase your mark when your finished.

These tips sound simple enough, but you would be surprised to find out how many people do not follow them.  Everyone thinks “oh that won’t happen to me”…and then it does.  Protect yourself now,  before it’s too late!

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