I don’t usually like to give hackers attention but I need to make my readers aware of some things that are happening to me on this website. I would also like to tell you that the people’s old accounts I’m mentioning are NOT hackers and are being taken advantage of. They don’t even know it’s happening.
When you have an old account on msn.com, or Blogger (it could happen with ANY account) and you don’t delete that account but leave it online with just a profile, or leave a website up that you quit using, you are setting yourselves up to be taken advantage of. A hacker will use your information or name that you leave behind gladly. They don’t need your password to do so either.
This year I have had to turn on comment monitoring on all of my websites and it makes me angry. It’s not so hard to monitor comments, but I had great trust in my readers and now I can’t.
It all started with emails and comments being sent out by (what I think) is a ‘bot’. A bot is a program a hacker will write that automatically sends a comment to your most popular and newest posts on your website to direct traffic to wherever they want it to go. That can be porn, or any kind of awful spam. Then if you have email notification enabled you will also get an email informing you of that comment.
These bots are written to use the old information that you leave around so when a person receives an email and looks to see who sent it, it will say it was sent by you, not the hacker.
Because these come from other countries who’s second (or third) language is English you can usually tell just by reading the comment that it’s not real. Still, some of them are pretty good and have fooled even me at times.
Here’s one I got last night:
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Rise Of Internet Addiction And You":
I am sure this paragraph has touched all the internet viewers, its really really fastidious paragraph on building up new blog.
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Posted by Anonymous to Bekkie In Wonderland at 2/26/13, 7:39 PM
(I have taken the hyperlinks out and changed them so this person can’t get any traffic off of my website like they hoped to.)
The worst thing about this email (and fake comment) is that when I look to see who sent it, it says that Dreamwalker sent it.
Dreamwalker is an old contact of mine who I met on Windows Live years ago. He’s now on Blogger with a website that he maintains and DID NOT send this. However, when I trace this back he has an old profile set up that can be ‘pointed to’ easily enough with a bot.
I have been getting these from Dreamwalker, Lady Penelope, Eddy, Steve, JBH, and more but the majority come from ‘Anonymous’ and use these people’s names. There are some people’s names involved in this that I don’t really know because they have always left comments under the ‘Anonymous’ moniker and in the past have left good comments and behaved themselves.
Then yesterday I saw that JBH had left me a comment and that I had answered him (using my name) but not my words. It had no picture of me and I always use a picture. Yet it was written to ‘look like’ a normal conversation about British musicians verses American (as I just wrote a blog on Harrison’s birthday.)
I also knew Lady Penelope from Windows Live and I’d guess she probably doesn’t know about this either. I went on Dreamwalkers BlogSpot the other day and left him a message about this but he probably thinks I’m a crazy person and hasn’t answered me.
I don’t like using other people’s names but I’m illustrating a good point about being used as fodder by hackers and it can and will happen to you at some point on the Internet.
Here’s some of the best things you can do to stop this abuse of your private info:
1. When you are through with an account, delete it and don’t look back.
2. I see people who sign up for accounts constantly and then change them when they get tired of them or should of blocked a person. Don’t be one of those people who have ‘x’ number of accounts and can’t use them all. Someone else will.
3. NEVER give in to phishing, report it, and never tell anyone your very personal information or password. Phishing=fishing.
4. Use a secure password with a mixture of numbers and letters (no phone numbers) to better ensure that a hacker doesn’t use a number generator (or some other device) to access your account. Change this password frequently. Even if you never give your password to anyone you can still be hacked, with a good password it’s less likely.
5. I think using a picture of yourself on your profile makes it harder for a hacker to use your name for fake comments and such. Without a picture it’s easier to use your information. Some people still feel that using their own picture makes it easier to get taken advantage of, but I have found the opposite to be true.
6. Don’t leave old email addresses behind. I see that some people change email addresses like clothes. Not a good idea because duplicates are a hackers best friend.
7. If you receive comments turn on comment monitoring or limit comments so that people can’t leave them under ‘Anonymous’. I can’t think of the last time a comment was left under Anonymous that was worth reading and replying to.
8. If you know you are being hacked report it. No matter what kind of account you have, there will be a “spam” or “abuse” button waiting for your use. Most accounts also have an email address where you can tell a representative about your experience and stop the hacking.
9. Do a search on yourself once a month (or more) and use some elbow grease to track down old accounts and profiles that might be waiting to be abused by hackers.
I guarantee that if you practice these simple steps to protect yourself that when you do get an occasional bot or person hacking you at least you will know what to do and that it’s happening.
If someone tells you they are receiving emails (or anything) from you that you didn’t know about, don’t ignore it. These people are trying to help you, not make you feel stupid. Don’t feel duped if you are the last person to know, ACT on it.
It’s nothing personal. These people just want to use your good name to spread some of the most heinous crap that they can and put the blame on you. If these links they leave behind were normal accounts, why would they need to hack you? Don’t let them get away with it.
I will be using comment moderation from now on so take your spam elsewhere. You will never publish on any of my websites again. You know who you are.
Keep On Bloggin’!