On June 25th at 5:30 am received a strange phone call from 442-032-634086. The call was location verification: my computers had been hacked. Not knowing the extent of the breach, I then started an eight hour process to scan my computers and recover my msn.com email account. My msn.com account had been hacked by some very talented people.
My son was the first to alarmed me. He received email claiming that I was stranded in Barcelona and needed $2800. At 5:30am I had attempted to log on to my MSN account from my Linux computer, but I was
blocked. I just assumed “issues” lived on my Linux computer and figured I would look into my email account from a windows computer later in the day. I started to receive calls from other friends stating they received the same letter: They asked if the story was true? The story was a very good one, because I like visiting Spain.
I have 10 computers running seven email addresses. One of the computers runs Ubuntu Linux another computer runs a virtual machine and with Red Hat Linux on it. Ubuntu Linux receives email from 5000 member email group living in a retirement community. The remaining computers run Windows. The Windows computers them have two anti-spy ware applications each with one anti-virus
loaded on them. I run scans on a regular basis; mainly after I finished for the day. I schedule my computers so only one is on the internet. I use a ten to twelve digit password on all computers, which is a combination upper and lower case letters, number and special characters.
I scanned all my computers. I found a Key logger on the computer I used to read my msn.com email; I assumed they used a key logger to get my MSN password. Once they got into my MSN they started
making changes. They listed two email addresses: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. One address was setup to receive a copy of all email coming to my address. The other email address of theirs was set up to receive any new passwords issued by MSN. They changed all my personal information expect my name. They changed my secret question and my phone number. They wanted to block me from receiving a password to log on to my account. Later MSN stated they could not verify the email address account was my account.
MSN opened a forum for me to wait out their work. They failed to activate it, so I could post question. I was in a forum with hundreds of other people, who also been hacked. MSN had a mess on their hands: Lots of people were experiencing the same thing as I . During this time, I was using my Linux computer to communicate with MSN. I did not trust my computers running windows; in the end this worked very well. I felt like Linux, was my Fort Apache while the attacks continued outside my Fort.
I was lucky, I don’t believe they got any usable financial information. However, I still had my credit card company issue me a new credit card. I was fortunate, since I was half ass prepared for this.
I am however, going to make some improvements on my computer setup. I will set up a password manager so I only have to enter passwords one time and not use the keyboard to enter passwords. I
am going to scan my computer daily; I am going to stick to this practice. My passwords are never going to be shorter that fifteen mixed characters. I am Look at the two email address left by the hackers you will see that their address have no names nor do they have any identifying information. I am going to build me a better Linux computer and tie it down. Furthermore, my passwords are never going to age beyond 75 days.
I like having a Linux computer as my Fort Apache. This hacking experience taught me having a way to get out on the internet besides windows is very important. I believe hackers love to target MS
Windows, for their adventures, so having a Mac or Linux computer to handle the extra load is a good thing.
My MSN email account is accessible now but it sits there without any contacts. I don’t know if I will ever populated my contacts again. I did not delete my contacts; who removed them: The question of the day?
The cost of a Linux computer is very low. The software is free and most any old computer will run it. I could have tried to use my other Windows based computers to get out on the Internet, but I had
no idea, if they had also been hacked. I felt safer using the Linux computer to get my problem cleaned up.
This wakeup call experience proves there are people willing to hack into computer. We have to be careful. After my account was recovered, MSN sent me email telling me that they could not help
me. I guess it is now up to us. If MSN cannot help you and the hackers have access to large banks of servers then the “Cloud” is dead.
I am just a small business. This mess could cost a large unknown amount of money to a large corporation. Forget the Cloud.