My Computer was Hacked!

My computer was hacked into the other day.  I was unable to open any of my normal web sites including my bank account, my credit card accounts, my Etsy site and my blog, Mizmlu’s Creatives.  I had no idea what had happened and did not know how to fix it.  So I called my computer expert, my daughter, Circe, who rescued me.  She was with a client and had me perform certain functions while she watched, to see what had happened and if I could fix it by following her instructions.  Turns out she confirmed that it was hacked into and the hacker had closed down all the relevant sites.  She was unable to do anything until she was finished with the client.  So then she logged into my computer from where she was, which I think is a magnificent option for her to be able to use.

 

It took her about 2 hours to complete the inspection and clean up all the garbage that the hacker had installed.  She then advised me to change all my passwords that related to any financial purpose.  That’s not as easy as it sounds.  Changing the one for the bank was the most difficult.  I had to identify myself in several ways so that they could be assured that I was who I said I was.  I approve of that even though it was time consuming.  I don’t want my password changed without my consent.

 

I rather liked my old password.  But now I had to come up with something I could remember and each one of the four I changed had different conditions.  Some needed a capital letter, others would not accept a punctuation mark or symbol.  I finally made up a password that consisted of 2 numbers, 6 letters and 2 more numbers.  Each time I entered the new password I was informed that it was a strong one.  That made me feel better.

 

There was an interesting article in the April issue of the AARP bulletin.  It dealt with the worst passwords people choose.  The most popular password is “password”.  No kidding.  It’s also the one most easily hacked.  Some suggestions were to use at least 12 keystrokes.  (I used only 10), use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, spaces, underscores and symbols.  Another tip is to pick a favorite TV show, movie, or a food you like, but with misspellings, symbols, or numbers.

 

The author suggested to gauge password protection, go to Microsoft.com/security and select “Create Strong Passwords.”  It’s worth taking the time to do this.  If you get hacked and want to reach my daughter at pctechsonline.com, or some other computer consultant, it will cost you at least $250.    Contact me if you have any questions.

Two blogs you should read

I love to browse the web.  I will read something and wonder what it means or where to find something I want to buy and get the best deal, or sometimes something just pops into my head and I want to know all there is to know about it.  So I spend some of my valuable time doing unnecessary research, but always find something or someone who intrigues me.   This morning I found two.

 

If you have read my blog you know that my oldest daughter with the ancient name of Circe is a computer genius.  I know about most of her activities but until this morning I didn’t know she had a blog.  I found it and read it.  I highly recommend that you read it too.  She willingly offers free advice on computer problems such as “Why didn’t the person get the email I sent?”  Or, the best way to set up a domain name, and many other problems people have with their computer.  You can read her blog at pctechsonline.com/blog/

 

The other person I found is Neil Patel.  He too is a computer guru and has 140,000 followers, probably because he addresses blogging problems of every nature.  I found his web page very informative and I believe he has a large following because he is a professional and his advice can be trusted.  He taught himself through his many failures how to succeed.  He offers advice and solutions freely.  You’ll find him at quicksprout.com.

 

I think you’ll find that these two professionals have the answer to any problem you may have with your computer.

HOW TO SECURE YOUR PASSWORD

HOW TO SECURE YOUR PASSWORD

Most of us do some kind of business on the internet. We buy things, we try to find information, we contact others, we do all sorts of things that can endanger our password and allow hackers to find us and thereby destroy our computer with a virus. Why they do this is incomprehensible, but it’s being done constantly. It is unfortunate that we must do whatever we can to prevent their access to our private information. You should change your password often and there are some things you can do to make it more secure.

When people are asked to provide a password for a new account they are usually in the middle of a complex set of questions and just automatically enter the first thing that comes to mind. That might be a pet’s name, a nickname, birthdate or something that they can easily bring back to mind when it’s called for the next time they use that web site.

You can avoid that sort of action by compiling a set of passwords ahead of time that can be used when required. Keep this list in a safe place. Memorizing it is better. The best passwords contain both words and numbers. Do not use a phrase, such as “bemyfriend”. Try to find words that have meaning for you, but do not become a string of words. For instance, dimplebluedinner. They have no connection to each other but may mean something to you. Or change the order, dinnerbluedimple, or misspell any or all of the words. You get the idea. Then add some numbers. The site you are joining will let you know what they require. Some want both upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Try putting a number or punctuation mark between the words. Use a capital letter that is no part of any of the words.

Do not use the same password for every site you join. That’s one of the reasons for the list you create.

The experienced hacker has the tools to find your password and may begin by offering a service or product of some sort. There are tools you can use to avoid opening these offers, but you should just delete those you don’t recognize. If you think you might like the product, go to the company’s web site directly. A reputable company will have a web site.

A hacker will guess some aspect of your life, such as your birthdate. If you google your own name or your spouse’s you may be surprised at what you find. Whatever you have done online in the past is there forever. Any personal information such as relatives found in a death certificate gives the hacker a clue.

Some hackers attempt to sign into your computer using a variety of common words. Every word found is helpful to him. Other more professional hackers have a dictionary of words to try and access your account. They continue to try words and numbers at the rate of 100 per second until they get a hit.

You can prevent this type of search by adding a 5 second delay between each attempt. You can also add a penalty if a person has typed a wrong password more than a certain number of times you choose such as 3.

A hacker who can attack your server 100 times per second is quite persistant so anything you do to prevent this will make it harder for him. Another little hint I suggest is to add one CAPITAL letter and one punctuation mark such as an asterisk in between words or letters. That helps a lot!

Lost my contact with the world

I had an emergency yesterday.  My land line phone went dead.  No dial tone.  I tried to use my cell phone but it wasn’t working either.  So I went to my neighbor who called the phone company for me.  However they couldn’t come until today.  I came home and tried the cell phone again, but realized I hadn’t topped it up and it was unusable.  So I was left with no way to reach my daughter who watches over me, or get online to reach her.

 

It was creepy.  I wasn’t frightened, but I felt literally disconnected to the world.  I live in a mobile home park so I am not without help if I need it, but the fact that I couldn’t communicate as I normally do was very strange.  I couldn’t get or send e-mail, pay bills, check my bank balance or any of the things I deal with every day.

 

After some time one of my neighbors came over to see if I was OK.  My daughter, who knows several people here in the park, reached someone.  This wonderful lady said she would walk over even though she had just come home from the hospital the day before.  She then called my daughter to let her know my situation.

 

For the rest of the day I spent my time doing things that didn’t require my computer or communication with the outside world.

 

Finally about 9pm my daughter showed up after work and got my cell phone working.  But she couldn’t fix the land line phone.  So I was still unable to conduct my normal business.  It is now the next day and I am waiting for the repairman as I write this.  He is scheduled to be here by 8pm.

 

You’re going to love my daughter

My eldest daughter is an exceptional woman.  She has created at least 2 jobs on her own to make a living.  She consults, advises, repairs and teaches everything you would ever want on your computer.  She has 20 years experience in this and now has made it her occupation.  Her other job is taking care of people who need a ride, temporary care, errands done, practically anything.  These two jobs alone take up most of her time, but when she isn’t busy she writes.

She is in the process of composing a book which will answer any question anyone could ever have about computers.   She also does articles for publication  in regional small papers or world wide article publishers.

Then, she always makes time for me.  I frequently have problems such as my  computer misbehaving, a doctor’s appointment, changing my clock when the time changes or the electricity goes out, whatever I need, whenever I need it.  She will drop everything to help me.  She charges other people to do this, but I get it free.  Lucky me to have her.

If you would like to have her help you and you are in her area you can reach her at 888-347-0052 or click on her link from my blog, PCTechsOnline.com.