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Hacked. The term just sounds bad. Like what a cat does with a hairball. Well, it is bad. But if you’re on top of things, not so bad.

Once again, I’ve taken a dive into a subject in which I’ve been a bit remiss. Oh, let’s get real. Very remiss. It’s similar to knowing there’s something wrong with your car, but you just turn up the stereo.  Yes, I’ve been treading on thin ice.

How shall they hack thee? Let me count the ways.

Front door, back door, side door, and the infamous trap door of your Bank and Credit Card accounts, e-mail, Smartphones, computers, home network, tablets… (Whoa! I’m out of breath.) …Your SMS Messages, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram accounts, your dating and fitness apps, and even your Amazon Echo, Alexa and more. The list will never end.

What’s more, these hackers don’t even bother to knock. They have no shame and are pretty darn proud of their prowess.

So, who are these so-called hackers?

Hackers come in all shades.

The top four are:  The darker the hat the shadier the hacker.

hacked black hat Black Hats. The bad guys. Really bad. Criminals.

Hacked White hat White Hats. The good guys AKA Ethical Hacker.

Hacked gray hat Gray Hats. Half good, half bad. More hobbyists than anything.

hacked red hat Red Hats. The Vigilantes. There’s no judge and jury with this crew.

Yes, there are more hacker hats in the spectrum, but these four give you the idea.

What to do when you get hacked?

It’s not if. It’s when. So, we’ll keep this simple. And gentle.

I’ve provided a down and dirty “You’ve Been Hacked Cheat Sheet” It contains “THE CLUES” you’ve been hacked, the “WHAT TO DO’S” if in fact you have been hacked, and the “Aftermath NEVER DO’S” to avoid that pain again. It doesn’t go too deep, but you’ll have what you need to survive. If all else fails, the experts at Intivix can save the day.

THEN YOU’VE BEEN HACKED’ CHEAT SHEET

BANK HOLD-UPS! And your plastic.

CLUES – Uh-Ohs

  • Strange purchases
  • Unknown transactions
  • Login Blocked
  • Denied Card
  • Bank calls
  • Money is gone

WHAT TO DO’S – Do not wait another minute to:credit card

  • View and confirm your identity online
  • Call your bank
  • Report the fraud
  • Freeze your account
  • Change your account username, pins, and passwords
  • Think about changing your email usernames and passwords
  • Check your credit history
  • File a police report

AFTERMATH MUST-DO’S – You’ve been warned

  • Never use LAME or SAME passwords (see previous Passwords VS Hackwords article
  • Run an Anti-Virus and Malware Software on your computer at least once a year.
  • Never give out your social or account # on the phone or in a text
  • Never dink around, shop, or download on sketchy websites
  • DO NOT post your private info public on your social sites (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram)
  • Stay away from non-bank ATMs
  • Check for devious “Card Skimmers” at ATM and card scanner machines
  • If your bank is not Black Hat-ready, find one that is.

The good news is that banks will refund money due to fraudulent transactions. But act fast, as their liability decreases over time. Be sure and read the fine print.

Still not satisfied? Check your financial institution’s website for everything you need to know about waking up to a hacked bank account. Or better yet, just call them. They’re more than eager to hold your hand.

HELLO! MY PHONE’S BEEN HACKED!

CLUES – Uh-Ohs

  • Strange noises during calls
  • Everything is running slower than usual
  • You and your friends are receiving strange texts and emails that you all didn’t send
  • Strange apps have installed themselves – Google them!
  • Standby mode lights up randomly
  • Battery drain and Increased data use
  • Some of your apps are down or wigging out
  • Weird text messages like code language
  • Shutdown is difficult or slow
  • Unexpected charges on your wireless bill
  • Spam filters blocking your emails
  • Device is accessing bad sites on its own
  • Service interruptions
  • Data breaches elsewhere

WHAT TO DO’Sphone hacker

Android:

  • Check for and delete suspect apps listed in your “Application Management” in your “Application Settings”
  • Still not sure? See your wireless provider

IPhones:

  • Simply change your iCloud password, and it will shut you spyware down!

AFTERMATH MUST-DO’S

Androids:

  • Check for “Unknown sources” in your “Safety and Privacy Settings”
  • To be extra sure. Go to “Factory Reset” for additional instructions.
  • Scan regularly for malware and viruses

IPhones:

  • Update your iPhone with the latest available iTunes updates or manually via your mac.

Both Phones:

  • Stay off public Wi-Fi networks! Free ain’t cheap!
  • Always install your latest updates for your phone and all your apps.
  • Prevent Bluetooth invasions, keep it off unless you’re using it.

If you really want to keep your SMS messages secure, go with the super-duper secure messaging apps like Signal or the simpler WhatsApp with end-to-end encryption, topped with multifactor authentication and an every-penny-worth it password manager.

YOU HAVE MAIL! AND SOME JERK HACKED IT.

CLUES – Uh-Ohs

  • Everything is running slower than usual
  • Receiving an unusual amount of spam
  • You and your contacts getting emails that you all didn’t send
  • Spam filters blocking your emails
  • Service interruptions
  • Data breaches elsewhere

WHAT TO DO’Semail hacker

  • Change your password (if you still have access) to a VERY STRONG one.
  • No access? Get guidelines from your provider’s website site.
  • Alert your contacts! Advise them to ignore any recent bizarre mail from you.
  • Scan your devices for malware and viruses.
  • Dive into your email settings and check/update: forwarding addresses, reply-to setting, auto-reply settings, signature, everything!

AFTERMATH MUST-DO’S

  • Review your address book for unfamiliar contacts/addresses.
  • Install internet security software.
  • Add a two-step verification process.
  • Change your password and security Q/A answers on any other sites/accounts you’ve used your email address and/or same passwords.
  • Totally consider a password management application.
  • Bookmark sites where you usually input your email and password (avoid linking from email).
  • Stay off public Wi-Fi! It’s a hacker’s playground.

If you really want to keep your messages secure, go with the super-duper secure messaging apps like Signal or the simpler WhatsApp with end-to-end encryption, topped with multifactor authentication and an every-penny-worth it password manager.

SAY IT ISN’T SO! YOUR FACEBOOK WAS HACKED?

CLUES – Uh-Ohs

  • Your hacked self is posting on your friends’ walls, and it’s not pretty!
  • Your “account” is sending wacky emails
  • Your profile information or picture has changed
  • Warnings/Alerts that your email has changed
  • Automated friend requests, likes, follows and other random notifications

WHAT TO DO’S

  • Head for the Security and Login section and see where and with what you’ve you logged in. If it’s not you, delete it.social media hacker
  • Check in Settings > Payments to review your payment activity and/or Ads Manager payment history.
  • Let Facebook know about any Hack attempts – they WANT TO KNOW
  • Send a message using the SUPPORT INBOX in the Help Center
  • Remove any apps that you don’t recognize.
  • Scan your devices for malware and viruses.
  • Not enough? I recommend the GUIDED HELP from Facebook.

AFTERMATH MUST-DO’S

  • Set a better, and I mean BETTER password
  • Head for the Security and Login section
    • Delete all your login activity
  • Do a Privacy Check-up in the privacy settings
  • Turn on alerts for unrecognized logins in the “Advanced” section of Security
  • Enable Two-Factor authentication
  • Set up “Trusted Contacts” to avoid future shutouts set up
  • Beware of spam links, even in your Message Request folder
  • Do not fall for the “Clickbait”. If you can’t resist it, don’t click it!
  • Minimize your “Basic Info” in the Privacy Settings (Phisher men use that for bait)
  • Tighten your circle of who sees what on your page.
  • For more serious security, check out the “Advanced” section in the Security and Login section.

SOME TWIT HACKED MY TWITTER!

CLUES – Uh-Ohs

  • Those Tweets aren’t yours! But it says they are.
  • Direct Messages coming from you aren’t from you.
  • Phantom following, unfollowing and blocking you didn’t make or approve.
  • Twitter sent you a notification that your account may be compromised.
  • Notices that your account info has changed, but YOU didn’t do it.
  • Your profile information or picture has changed.
  • Warnings/Alerts that your email has changed.
  • Your password doesn’t work, and it keeps prompting you to reset it.

WHAT TO DO’Ssocial media hacker

  • Change your password FAST!
  • Revoke access to your account in the Apps and Devices section
  • While in the APPS section, revoke access for apps you don’t recognize
  • Be sure and update your Password in your trusted apps!
  • Use the teams feature? Revoke members you don’t recognize.
  • Still no luck, file a support request.
  • Scan your devices for malware and viruses.
  • Did we miss anything, go to the source.

AFTERMATH MUST-DO’S

  • Delete all the unwanted tweets made while you were compromised.
  • Opt for “login verification” in addition to your password.
  • Check to see if your Network has been compromised.
  • Make sure you’re on the real twitter.com site before you enter your password, click the lock icon in the address bar.
  • Make sure your Twitter app is always up to date.
  • Keep your browser and computer virus-free.
  • Don’t click on dubious links. They lead to trouble.
  • Once again, don’t share your passwords!
  • Get more tips from Twitter

Intivix has extensive experience in optimizing technology for businesses.   We have been the trusted IT partner of countless San Francisco businesses since 1996. If you have questions about optimizing your technology strategy, reach out to our team for strategic consultation any time at (415) 543-1033.

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