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.