I RECEIVED more phone calls in a 60-minute period yesterday than I have all week. Maybe all month.
Why? Because a devious internet hacker, who appears to have been logging in from Melbourne, managed to infiltrate my email account and send a dastardly virus to my entire email address book.
And he did it while I was still logged into my account. Sneaky buggar!
I received this very virus from a colleague last week, and it looked so darn legit I clicked on the link and stupidly entered my email address and password.
The message simply read:
Please review the file attached with this email using Google Drive.
Click here to just sign in with your email to view your Google document. Its essential you see the document.
As it so happens, I was expecting a document from this person – an important one, which she promised to send ASAP – so I clicked the link.
Entered my email address.
Entered my password.
Then got a dead link with an error message that said, “Please try again later”. So I did. Three times!
That very clever move on my part has now led to literally hundreds of people receiving same virus from me… Which has prompted dozens of them to contact me, via phone, email and text, asking to clarify exactly what “essential information” I was dying to share with them.
Friends, family members, former work colleagues and employers, charities I’ve donated to, a university course I once enquired about, a travel agent who never returned my call: they’ve all been in touch.
I quickly changed my password and the crisis appears to be over, but it was a frustrating and unproductive way to spend an afternoon. Not to mention the fact that I’ve now gifted this frustration on to friends and colleagues.
The whole experience has made me acutely aware of how vulnerable I am to sneaky cyber culprits. I thought I was tech-savvy and virus-aware – and far too smart to be hookwinked into sharing my personal details with a spammer. Apparently not.
Embarrassingly, I’ve realised this isn’t my first brush with cyber crime. Years ago, my eBay account was hacked by a joker from Germany, who quickly racked up $2,000 in sales of stolen TVs. Last year my Facebook page cloned, and fake me started asking all of my contacts for cash so we could invest together in an “unbelievable business opportunity”.
I can only imagine how the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and co feel after their privacy was invaded this week. I don’t even understand the cloud, let alone how it could be hacked, but I have peace of mind in the knowledge that there is not a single rudey-nudey picture of me in existence – so that is one embarrassment I shall never suffer through!
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