Have you been hacked? Yep. Your cloud data. Probably.
by Andy Flagg, Publication Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2019
View Count: 377, Keywords: been hacked?, reaction, action, Hashtags: #beenhacked? #reaction #action
It's not that you have been hacked, just you don't know it yet. Or however that saying goes at this time.
On your local computer, have you been hacked? probably not, but your stuff in the cloud, most definitely. Who can promise you that it has not been hacked? Not really anyone. Just live with the fact and get used to it, that your stuff is probably compromised and just start to live in that paradigm.
I should have written this article over 2 years ago when it first started, but as of now the problem is starting to get worse for so many. Over 2 billion accounts compromised since the year 2000 across the globe.
note: some IT security geek and pseudo genius just told me, its impossible. my reply was yeah right, now how can they prove one way or the other? they cannot. just presume your stuff has been looked at. it makes you feel better about yourself right away knowing what you don't know. On the flip side, unless your data is in an offline storage bunker somewhere, it's probably been scooped up or hash tagged for activity at some point. (what's hash tagged? - its a quick way to analyze a data lump for changes). more about this later. stay tuned.
Regarding big companies that have been at the forefront of being hacked; TJMaxx, British Airways, Yahoo, US OPM, many hospitals, many government subcontractors, many more government agencies, and the like everywhere. This problem is not going away unless we have a DNA solution that can be reverse chained to the source of the threat(s) instantaneously and constantly. We do have the horsepower at the megapops and doable, yet who wants to be that good bad cop? I believe we can do it without being like 1984 Orwellian.
Businesses, churches, and the like are being threatened. This fiasco goes for individuals and businesses alike. For law enforcement, this is an arduous task and for computer professionals even more so to prevent, track and remedy.
I have received 100 calls in the past 6 months from clients reporting that they have been hacked; receiving emails threatening to exposure their private information if they don't pay a ransom in Bit Coin. Me too. I monitor dozens of businesses and their accounts and I tell you with certainty there is over 100 different variations of the hackers messages.
For the dozens of infected computers in my repair network that are isolated as much as possible, analyzed, treated and fixed, one can always make sure at best case that your computer is safer and free from harm leaving that computer repair store.
Moving forward, and looking backward, my only suggestion is to look at your situation and determine your best course of action. Ask first before doing anything.
Here are some examples of what happens and how it happens:
1. you are on Forbes.com and an ad on the site appears. You click on it to read more about it, and your browser gets taken over and you are exposed to alerts to call, exposed to webpages you did not expect, and you are locked out. Your best course of action is press ALT+F4 to close the window(s) because your mouse won't work, and logoff your computer (CTRL+ALT+DEL | logoff) and throw away all of what you had open (save what you can if required like word, excel documents).
2. you are on ebay or amazon, and you go to click away from viewing a product and blam, a capture page appears with sirens, flashing red lights, call microsoft, call epson, call this number, you are hacked, you are exposed, your home is threatened.. the same happens in #1. do what #1 says. are you hacked? throw the baby out with the bathwater is my saying and don't go back to that same page on ebay, forbes or other site(s). etsy? yep, news portals, san jose mercury. Go to a different part of that site. the operators of the websites are probably aware and on alert for their inpage ads that have been compromised. its not surprise. the trojan horses of page advertising to make money on free content.
3. alternatively, you check your email and you receive an email attachment in PDF or WORD format and you open it and your computer is seized. Did you expect the email and did you know to be careful not to open an attachment that you were not expecting?
Do you call the #? No! Don't Let them into your computer. Unless you know the person you are calling or the person who is calling you, you know. Just don't. Please. Why do you let an absolute stranger into your computer? Would you let that happen at your home, house or apartment, or at work?
For #1, #2, #3, each of those have happened over the past 2 years, and I have tested this on various computers in a controlled environment to analyze what is going on, and also unexpectedly opened something and my antivirus and malware protection took over. Did that still alarm me? Yep.
What could one do about it? Not much. Some of the trojan viruses, malware and other forms of captchya does not matter per browser, platform nor antivirus. Windows, Linux, OS X, IE, Firefox, Chrome, Norton, MSE, McAfee, Opera, Defender, IOBit, Kaspersky, AVG, Avast, MBAM, etc. All of them have infections within and through them. It's an all out combat your computer against the Internet.
What do you do? Has your network been infected? Why are you being targeted? Are you old and elderly, or are you young and naive? Are you a high value target? My employees got these messages here at work, and all one can do is review your situation and clean your system, reset your security, network, firewall, routers, and keep an eye out for strangers and strangeness.
For me, I have been told in emails that my password(s) from 1990s and 2000s were exposed and I can appreciate that pain of knowing my passwords for the websites I had accounts back then. Even today, I look at my password strategy and determine what is best for me.
What can you do? Well, change your passwords, keep the email for your records but then again, the spam and hackers try to hide themselves, but then again, that is easily traceable.
What's next? I can only imagine. I have a lot of good ideas. As a white hat, I can tell you that there is plenty that can be done that is legal and illegal against any and all who threaten another and each other.
Being a target of mail tampering, exploitation, blackmail, fraud, invasion of privacy, death threats are never to be taken lightly. Keep ever vigilant and realize that you can do something about it. Stay tuned.
more to come...
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