I Got Hacked...And Now I Am Left Feeling Completely Violated
There is a lot of truth in the saying that you never think it is going to happen to you, of course until it does. I was hacked last week, and I am still reeling from the experience. Being hacked is like another form of violating someone. For me, it is a very similar feeling to be groped, or burglarized.
Like many women, I have been groped in crowded places, like at a party or club, and public transportation. Every time I was left with the feeling of, "how dare they put their hands on me!" Unfortunately, in crowded locations, the assailant is not always obvious. However, if I saw who did it, they received a verbal assault, and I made sure everyone in the vicinity knew what they did.
The violation of a hack is very similar for me, but unfortunately there is potential for even greater violations and damage, depending on what they got. It started last week near the end of my workday. I was at my desk working when I received an email on my Apple Watch saying “find my iPhone” had been activated. I immediately picked up my phone, and sure enough my phone was locked and the only option I had on my phone was for an emergency call. My phone was useless.
I called my husband from my desk phone and told him someone, or something had activated find my iPhone. He was nearly home, so within minutes he was able to log into the iMac and take my phone out of that mode. Once my phone was unlocked, I received a notice that someone in Kaluga, Kaluga was trying to access my iCloud. At this point I realize something was really wrong. I selected “do not allow” for access and immediately, with the help of my husband, started changing passwords. I also googled Kaluga, which also happens to be in Russia.
Once I got home, family mode kicked in with cooking dinner, and shuttling my girls to dance class. Later that night, after my shower, I grabbed my MacBook to start writing. To my surprise, and fury, my MacBook was locked. It was locked with a six digit pin that I clearly had not created, and therefore could not unlock. I tried everything to unlock it, only to become locked out of my own computer completely.
With no other options, I contacted Apple. A tech called me within minutes, but unfortunately this type of problem had a requirement of me going to the Apple store, and bringing proof of purchase for my MacBook. Awesome! I headed out of town for a mini vacay, and scheduled my appointment with the"Genius Bar" after my return. The technician who helped me was very friendly and knowledgeable, but he said they needed to keep my laptop for 24-48 hours. He also asked if I had backed up before coming to the store. Of course I hadn't, but moot at this point. They could tell I was hacked, and could unlock my MacBook easily, but they wanted to figure out how the hackers hacked me, and see what they got into on my computer, if anything. The process was free of charge at least.
So here I am still wondering "why me?". I mean seriously. I have no election, or national secrets on my computer. There is nothing juicy, or even titillating, unless they are looking for some steamy short stories I have yet to publish. I do not have my computer back yet, so I am not sure how they got in. But I do realize my passwords needed to be more secure. Between Equixfax and Russian hackers, I am not feeling so safe right now in the Internet world. The reality is this sucks! It is inconvenient, and stressful, but also an eye opening experience.
If it could happen to me, it cold happen to you too. Protect your information. Be careful who you share your passwords with, make stronger passwords, backup frequently. and use free wifi with caution.
Beware of the online boogeyman. He's waiting for any sign of weakness. - Charlene Eckstein