Monday, 3 September 2012

Naive twit! Or, Death to Hackers!

The old adage, Live and Learn, has never been more true. At least where I'm concerned.
As a relative newbie to Twitter I was under the rather naive (aka, foolish) impression that people are generally nice, and if you're nice to them the favour will be returned.

Ah, how naive can one be!

Unfortunately, there are people (I use the term loosely) who enjoy creating havoc by sending malicious messages with attached viral links. Those of us who have never been exposed to such nasties before, are often caught like the proverbial fish! That's what happened to me.
I spent the next three days trying to retrieve a hijacked password that, thankfully, was not connected to my bank account - which is what, I'm told, these creatures are after.
But, they hacked into my twitter account, and using my followers, sent a series of malicious, viral-infected messages to them and others. It took me several hours to reach all my followers in order to warn them.
Then, I had to make a two hour trip to the nearest Apple store so the geeks there could give my laptop a thorough once-over to get rid of the embedded nasty. Which they did, bless their little geeky hearts.
But, I was locked out of my own Google account and my precious blog. If I couldn't retrieve my password, or even get it changed, I faced the horror scenario of having to create a new blog and somehow copy and paste everything from the old one into the new!

Happily, it didn't happen. I was able to use another email account to which Google sent the necessary information for me to change my password.
Hence the reason why this week's blog post is late. I have to thank the sick-minded hacker for being responsible!

Because of this creature, I lost three valuable days which could have been spent writing and proof-reading/editing my first book which is due for release this December - depending, of course,  on the results of the international writing competition I entered and for which I have been shortlisted.

So, what have I learnt from all this?
Firstly, NEVER open any link on Twitter, no matter the message.
Secondly, have at least TWO or THREE extra email accounts in case one is compromised.
Thirdly, DON'T TRUST ANYONE (except my mum).

Now, I shall return to my regular blog. Stay tuned.

If anyone has had a similar experience, please feel free to share. How did you handle it?


Quixotic Taylor said...

I completely understand. It was a good thing that it worked out for you in the end. Some people are not so fortunate and end up losing control of their computer or even money from their bank account. I hope people read this and become more aware of what hackers are capable of.

Tima Maria said...

It's scary, all right. I don't know what pleasure these people derive from disrupting the lives of others. But, I've learnt to be careful.

Diane said...

It sounds awful! I don't use Twitter, and this certainly doesn't make me feel that I should change my mind.
Kind regards

Tima Maria said...

Hi Dianne,

Unfortunately, twitter is a very useful these days. Most of the time, it's fun and connects you with fellow writers and readers all over the world. As a promotional tool it's invaluable. But with anything in this technological age, you have to be careful, not everyone out there is as nice as you!