About a month ago I got locked out of my g-mail account and had all of my personal data stolen. It was my fault.
I’ve always heard the horror stories of people who had their accounts hacked. I assumed it happened to negligent people, who visited sketchy sites and clicked on questionable links. I’ve always considered myself to be moderately technology-savvy, and thought that something like that could never happen to me. Not someone with my internet know-how.
About a month ago I was on vacation with my family in Europe. I was thrilled to separate myself from the stress of work, and leave all of it behind. I checked my e-mail once or twice to make sure everything with work was in order, but I was more than happy to give myself a break from my computer, phone, and all other electronics. When we landed back in the United States and I switched on my phone for the first time in a few days, I received an odd text from my friend. He said that he had received a strange e-mail from me, and wanted to be sure that I had sent it.
I found his text message strange. I hadn’t been sending any e-mails while on vacation. When we arrived home, I stepped into my home office, switched on my computer, and opened up g-mail to see what exactly he was talking about. I entered my e-mail and password, and waited to be logged in. Instead, I received an error message. The password I entered was incorrect. Thinking I made a typo, I re-entered my password and expected to see my home screen pop up. Once again the error message. It couldn’t be! I’d been using the same password since my daughter was born twelve years ago. I opted to have my account information sent to my phone thinking maybe there was an error and my password had been changed accidentally. That I would receive the information and be able to change my password back. But I wouldn’t be receiving any messages, because all of my e-mail account’s personal information had already been changed.
I’d been hacked!
I immediately started to panic. This wasn’t just my personal e-mail account, it was my work e-mail account with a lot of important contacts and information stored in it. I tried everything in order to re-gain access to my account. Over and over again I tried to re-set my password, I contacted the customer support at g-mail, nothing could be done. Not only had I lost access to my e-mail account and all of the information stored in it, but the hacker was using my e-mail to consistently spam my contacts. To make matters worse, these spam e-mails were reaching the high-profile clients that were stored in my address book. Needless to say my boss was very displeased, as were the clients. Nothing could be done. Eventually after working with specialists and experts and the hacker had sent their share of spam to all of my contacts, I was finally able to log in to my e-mail. Unfortunately, all of my contacts and information had been completely erased. The damage was done.
Email account theft is a rampant problem. It does not only happen to the technologically challenged. It happens to technology competent people all the time. And just because you’ve been hacked once, does not mean you won’t get hacked again. I had been careless with the protection of my personal information, and I was paying the price. For the small fee of $20 I could have purchased an anti-virus software that would have protected my PC. I could have avoided this whole mess. I kicked myself over and over again for letting this happen, but I can guarantee that this won’t be a recurring nightmare, not for me. I’ve learned my lesson, and you should learn from it too. Don’t let yourself become a victim of a computer virus. A mere $20 towards anti-virus software could prevent this nightmare from happening to you. You will only become a victim of computer hacking if you let yourself.
Make the small investment in one of these top anti-virus softwares and protect your personal information!