Another Hacking Story: The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I feel like I’ve been talking about security and hackers a lot lately, but I just had to share this with you.

A friend called me this morning in a panic about her daughter’s Facebook account. It’s been hacked. But not by your “typical” hacker who wants you to wire money to Nigeria. The account was broken into by someone she knows.

Here’s the scenario (we’ll call the daughter “Susie”):

  • Susie’s big brother breaks up with his Girlfriend and gets a New Girlfriend.
  • Susie is friends with New Girlfriend on Facebook.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend hacks into Susie’s Facebook account and proceeds to have a chat with unsuspecting New Girlfriend – acquiring top secret relationship dirt, sensitive contact info, etc.. Ex-Girlfriend is now busy randomly sending hate text messages to New Girlfriend’s phone.
  • Oh, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend also hacked Susie’s Gmail account and changed the password.

Poor Susie just wanted to talk to her peeps online, but now she’s in the middle of a love triangle/identity theft mess.

So of course she’s scared. And frustrated. And angry. Wouldn’t you be?

It sounds like something right out of a soap opera – but it happens every day.

Susie and her mom are in the process of trying to restore both the Facebook and Gmail accounts (neither of which Susie used much, anyway, which allowed for the hacking to go unnoticed). It’s complicated and a pain to have to go through.

I wish I could give you a happy ending to this story, but it’s still unfolding, and I really don’t know what the outcome will be. It could involve police. Real ones. And ninjas.

But here’s the important part, in which I tell you what to do and what not to do:

(1) Don’t share your passwords with anyone. And make those passwords impossible to guess. For example, if your name is Josie and your field hockey number is 22, don’t make your password “Josie22”. The same goes for birthdays. It’s too easy to figure out.

(2) Check your email regularly – if someone tries to change your Facebook password you will always get an email notification. Since Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was able to get into the gmail account, she had access to and was able to intercept those emails.

(3) Don’t put sensitive info on social media sites. If the New Girlfriend didn’t have her phone number on her Facebook profile, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend wouldn’t have had easy access to it.

If you don’t want people to see your stuff, don’t put it on the web for the world to see.

This isn’t rocket science, people. Tell this to your friends, and your kids, and your kids’ friends, and your mom (who is most certainly on Facebook too, you just don’t know it yet). Be smart and keep yourself safe.

Here’s how to set up your privacy settings in Facebook:

Facebook Privacy Guide: Controlling How You Share

Do that, and you’ll be in good shape. Got something to add? Share it in the comments.

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