Well, now I definitely know what it feels like when you get ‘hacked’ or at least I have a feeling this is what’s happening to my new Facebook account. It’s apparent that my account was compromised earlier on today. All was fine and dandy until I tried to share my latest post at FBL (Facebook group for bloggers) and I couldn’t!

I clicked ‘Post’ and it seemed like it was trying to, but it was not going through. I then logged in and out, even reset Safari, just in case it was just some bad cookie or whatever it could be. But still not working.

Suddenly, this feeling of dismay finally hit me that, ‘crap, someone got me!’ So, I tried changing my password. Unfortunately, it’s now saying my password is incorrect when I tried to get a new one. Resorting to ‘forgot my password’ and sending it via email didn’t work either. I’ve not received one single email of verification so I could continue, which could only mean that this account is ‘done for’. What a pain! Don’t you think?

Also, I should include that if you’re on my compromised account and you Like or Comment on any of my posts, you will get an error message, like this one. And when I think about it, I got the same message when I clicked one of my blogger friend’s post. Must warn her, you never know.

I’ve been asking AJ’s Dad and his friend, who says, that Facebook is way too easy to hack! And I’m sure many of you would agree. Just never thought that I’d be in this position, and I can assure you, you don’t want to be in my shoes right now. And while I was trying to read more about this stuff, I also came across this article or page on Facebook. It’s very alarming and now it worries me to ‘death’.

Here’s what happened to one of the Serenity Virtual Assistant Services‘ client:

The “cyber criminals” had infiltrated her Facebook profile, and then changed the email address on the account and the password. Once they had access to the account, they then sent out emails to everyone asking for money. This is known as phishing and Facebook has named it the “419scam”. First they hack your account and then they disquise themselves as you and chat with your friends and send out the emails. Western Union has posted a warning about the scam on their website, and they continue to educate their employees on this and other scams.

(Please read more on this by clicking the link above.)

So, be very aware that if you start receiving messages, ex. from my compromised account, I wouldn’t be begging for money! I’ve deactivated Donah D Sweetjbean for now but whoever got a hold of it, goodness knows what they might do with it.

This post is not to scare anybody, this is simply a warning because being in this situation is far more than scary, it’s so stressful. I might actually have to kiss Facebook goodbye, you never know. I’m sure my blog will be able to thrive if I just stalk everyone on their blogs, right? *sigh

And while we’re at this whole shenanigans of being unsafe online, Facebook and Twitter, apparently are the main culprits, let me share you one more article I came across a week ago, just after Godaddy.com’s site went down, taking along with it untold number of websites. Most of the girls with blogspot accounts from FBL were actually affected. Details were all over Twitter on 10th September, in case you didn’t know.

The article I came across is about  the 10 PC security mistakes we all make, from the two ‘legit or ethical’ hackers point of view. They’re revealing to us our old time habits that make us vulnerable online, including our personal data and bank accounts. It sounds scary, but you’ll be surprised that we pretty much making the same mistake over and over again.

However, in this post, I’ll just point out what us, bloggers, should be very aware of or pay attention to. Please do have a good read of the Yahoo article as well.

Now then, first on the list is:

  • Don’t use the same username everywhere!!

Here’s what Cal Leeming, a former hacker who works at Simplicity media says:

‘People often upload photos of themselves to an online library. But they use a username they use on other sites. They don’t realise that people can use Google to connect them across all the different worlds they visit, and then work out a way in.’

>>And yes, most of us are guilty of this! Although I don’t really upload photos to an online library, I know others have. But I’m guilty on the same username part. Or is this completely a different matter? To me, it sounds like it applies not only those who upload photos, but to any of us who uses the same usernames across our social media sites. But it all makes sense! You can easily get tracked with same username.

Don’t you think this contradicts with the whole use the same username across your social networks at BlogHer Conference? This was one of the tips that were given to bloggers, so it would make it easier for others to find us whichever social media we use. But now, hackers will be on our tails, too, and making their ‘job’ easier?

Fifth on the list:

  • Use two-factor passwords when you can!

According to Tom Beale, ‘an ethical hacker’, who’s worked for 10 years, protecting corporate and government systems by finding weaknesses, say that we all just want quick access. And unless we’re forced to have a two-factor password, say for our bank account, we always try to resist it.

>>What some of us are not fully aware about is the fact that two-factor password does add protection. That extra layer, according to Tom. I know it can be difficult especially remembering different passwords for all accounts you have online, it would be a nightmare! But, in the end, what we should bear in mind, is the fact that if things get compromised, that’s the nightmare you don’t want to be in! So it’s better safe, get a long, difficult two-factor password than be sorry later.

Ninth on the list… although I think this should be part of the top 5

  • Remember that funny videos can be very funny

‘Facebook’s system doesn’t filter for malicious links, so they can be very dangerous. Often a ‘video’ link will try to fool people into visiting an infected site or downloading something in the guise of video software or fake antivirus software. Your only defence is to think, ‘Would my friend really post that?’ so be careful about people you only half-know. Facebook and Twitter need to inform users better.’

>>Yes! Facebook and Twitter need to inform users better. Definitely. And I’ve been getting DM via Twitter of messages saying ‘you’re in this pic or vide, it’s funny, check this out.’ and I don’t even know the person. Could it mean that this Twitter user’s account is now also compromised? One DM I got was from another follower saying ‘someone talked behind your back, watched it here’. Ummm. yeah right. But anyone could get trick with things like this and could easily click that link, and that’s it!

Therefore, please, be very careful. I’m now deactivating my other Facebook account – AJs Mommie – temporarily while the other issue is getting fixed. I’m still reachable via Twitter or here on my blog.

Remember, hacking any type of account can become an open door to other accounts and some of us wouldn’t think so. But people can easily follow traces, even without hacking your computer directly.  Something we must always remember. (I was told by AJ’s Dad this, just now.)

As for me, time to update all passwords. It’s going to be a looong night!