Monday, 3 October 2011
COMPUTER CRIME: I'VE BEEN HACKED!
About 3pm on Friday afternoon I discovered I'd been logged out of Google. I tried to log in and couldn't. I couldn't use Google as a search engine. I couldn't use my Gmail account. And I couldn't get in to my blogs -I could read them, I just couldn't post anything.
Half an hour later I got a phone call from a colleague who'd' received an email from me saying that I was stuck in Madrid and needed money urgently. Not being an idiot and working on the IT side of things, he realised my account had been hacked and had called to warn me. This wasn't the last call I received on the subject.
I still didn't suss out exactly what was happening as it had never happened before. After trying and failing to log on to Google, I was informed I'd tried too many times and couldn't retry my password until the following day i.e. October 1st. October 1st and 'Google' didn't seem to realise it as it wasn't until the afternoon before I was allowed to try again. I get blocked. There was also alternative @ymail I could use which I now realise was part of the con.
In the meantime I'd logged on to Yahoo, which I used as a temporary homepage instead of my customised iGoogle, and did some searches under Gmail account hacked, visiting several pages before finding one where I could contact Google via a form. I also created an email account at Yahoo so I had some means of contacting people and being contacted. I had to allow 24 hours so I allowed more before nothing happened and sent another one. This time I did get a reply which I found when I got back from empyting the donated petfood bins from three local superstores -Asda, Sainsburys, and Morrisons- which had been kind enough to let us have them. So followed the instructions which resulted in me having to fill in another copy of the form. But this time after submitting it I was directed to a different web page and shortly after that I regained control of my account. Hence this posting.
However, there were consequences. Any emails I'd received since Friday had disappeared for good, though the spam hadn't been touched. I had to restore my contacts list which was actually no bad thing as I had to access the list and tick those addresses I wanted restored resulting in trimming it down from over 230 to a mere 40.
And this morning I found out that someone (whom I'm not going to identify had been taken in by the con and had actually sent money -he wouldn't tell me how much. He hadn't thought, he admitted to me, he'd just reacted. He'd seen that a friend was in trouble and did what he could to help; without thinking. What a lovely person he is. Not that I didn't know that already. Anyone who knows him knows that and it makes me sick to my stomach that these scum have conned someone like that. I hope that lots of really bad things happen to him/her/them and that they suffer.