Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm Such a Spammer - learn from me!

Sad to say, my email was hijacked last night and sent spam to everybody on my contact list.  And I mean everybody.

  • The mayor and various city council members (I've served with them on a nonprofit committee).
  • The listserver for my kids' middle school (probably 700 or so recipients there via a single address)
  • All the wonderful tutors I've worked with for years
  • Old college and high school friends
I'm mortified.  The email was inviting them to check out a "great site for electronics."  It was so poorly written that it was somewhat obvious that it was not written by a native English speaker.

I debated sending out a follow-up apologetic email but I didn't, because I think that's almost making things worse.

What did I learn?  Obviously I needed a better password.  How good is yours?  Check it here:

https://www.microsoft.com/protect/fraud/passwords/checker.aspx

I also need to change passwords more often, I get pretty lazy about that.

I also learned that I got an awful lot of undeliverable mail back.  A lot of my contacts have changed email and not notified me.  Do you let people know when you switch email?

I also found out that there's a universally recommended free tool to check your computer for harmful invaders.  Get it at Malwarebytes.org.  It didn't find anything on mine, but apparently it's pretty good at finding the nasty stuff regular software like McAfee can't. 

So.  Did you check your password?

6 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Merri Ann said...

I checked mine and it shows as "strong" but not "best".

So sorry about your account being hijacked ... I have to admit to not changing mine often enough. I mostly don't change it because I can never remember the new one. But, I guess, the chances of someone sitting at my desk and stealing a password is not likely and I should just write them down by my computer.

I had bad luck with McAfee and with Norton. After a repair person found 13 virus (what is the plural of that?) I changed to AVG and I use the Malware softward also ... I haven't had a problem since.

Thanks for the link and the good tips.

concretenprimroses said...

I have Zone Alarm. It seems to work pretty well, knock on wood.
I'm sorry this happened. How embarassing. My dfosterd got an email from her sister saying she was stranded somewhere and asking of money to be sent. Same thing, hijack!
You know, I just can't bring myself to go to a web site and type in my password(s). Even tho I'm sure since the site is from you that its legit.

Kathy

Patty said...

I'm sorry you had to go through this. I always get creative with my passwords (like I use my imaginary boyfriend's name and birthdate for one) but I hardly ever change them. Thanks for the reminder!

belinda said...

Oh NO!!! What a mess for you...I know you feel just terrible....but thanks for the reminder...I changed mine regular there for a while...got out of the habit....I will go do it right now!!

WIDNEY WOMAN said...

I recently changed my passwords. I try to change them up at least yearly. I also have over 10 email addresses that I use so I don't get a bunch of junk mail at the primary email addresses I use most.

I have a Mac so I don't get a lot of the popups, spam, and viruses more common on a Windows based computer. Not that I am less diligent. I think we all need to actively make wise internet choices.

This similar thing happened to me once a few years back but it was my fault. I accidentally invited everyone in my address list to view my first blog site. Everyone. I was mortified!!

Sorry this happened to you!!

Becca said...

I'm sure everyone will be understanding about you getting hacked.

I have never changed my email because I don't want to have to let people know.

I tested my password and it's weak. I don't agree because it has letters and numbers!

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