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Poll: Has your e-mail account ever been hacked?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 9, 2012 6:29 AM PST
Has your e-mail account ever been hacked?

-- Yes, just once. (What happened and was it ever solved?)
-- Yes, many times. (Why so many times and what did you do to solve them?)
-- Never. (What's your secret sauce? Or are you just lucky?)
-- I don't know.
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Has your email ever been hacked...
by susanai / March 9, 2012 9:06 AM PST
Yes, just once and it was Yahoo a few years ago. I closed account and re-routed my email thru windows 'live'. No problems ever since. I also use Gmail - that is safe - and Incredimail with paid for protection.
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by santuccie / March 9, 2012 9:27 AM PST

- First, my e-mail account doesn't have any contacts listed there; my contacts list is stored in my Thunderbird Portable client. And any sensitive information that I do store in the cloud is encrypted with Yadabyte Shhh!!!, using the longest password I have memorized.

- Second, my e-mail password comprises 15 characters, including: capitals, miniscules, numbers, and symbols.

- Third, my portable e-mail client is stored in a TrueCrypt virtual partition, protected with the longest password I have memorized.

- Fourth, I do not participate in chain letters, and advise loved ones to refrain as well.

- Fifth, I do not open spam messages (ambiguous messages are viewed in text-only format), and forward every spam message I receive to spam@uce.gov, webcomplaints@ora.fda.gov, and phishing-report@us-cert.gov.

- Sixth, I scan all attachments in messages from loved ones at VirusTotal or an alternative. Even though I don't expect any of my contacts to deliberately compromise my system, I do not place my safety in their hands (or anyone else's).

- Seventh, if I receive a spam message purporting to be from a loved one, I advise them to have their system(s) scanned for infections, and change their e-mail password to something that is difficult to guess. I then proceed to forward the spam message to spam@uce.gov, webcomplaints@ora.fda.gov, and phishing-report@us-cert.gov.

- Finally, I practice all of the techniques at Invincible Windows, in effort to prevent infection, and keylogging in case of infection despite my efforts. And for the last five years, neither has happened to my knowledge.

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Never been hacked but offended lots of people
by mariegarden / March 9, 2012 9:49 AM PST
In reply to: Never

I am ultra cautious. Will NOT use any mail programs. All gmail is done on line so I get a choice of what I download. Offend many people by saying I do not want their jokes, beautiful pictures, pass it ons who do not
believe nasties could possibly be passed on.
I try to deal only with what I call serious safety conscious people. Am moderator of Tutorial web group so
have lots of other people's security at risk if I am careless. Nearly got caught once downloading from a site
had previously thought was safe and just noticed in time to hit the stop button.
Hope this does not jinx me.

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by santuccie / March 9, 2012 10:44 AM PST

I suspect you're referring to POP3, but I use IMAP; I too have a choice of what I download. And even though Gmail is probably the most secure, free e-mail service available, you are still taking a leap of faith in the cloud. If your account gets hacked, as so many do, then everyone in your Web group is compromised. I too am "ultra cautious"; so much so that I refuse to hang the fate of my security (and that of anyone in my circle) on a single point of failure, especially one that is stored "out there" on the public Internet.

Frankly, if you store your contacts list in your Gmail account, then I would opine that the status quo of your success regarding e-mail security involves more luck than precaution on your part.

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If only I could convince my best friend!
by pamelad / March 9, 2012 4:02 PM PST
In reply to: Never

If only I could convince my best friend to not participate in e-mail chain letters, and all those charming online greeting cards. She's well-meaning and cheerful, but she just doesn't understand the danger.

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Perhaps this will convince them
by santuccie / March 16, 2012 5:31 AM PDT
Here is a long list of reasons why chain letters are bad. Greeting cards are one thing but, still, there's nothing like a personal message (rather than canned) to show how much you love someone. I would hope that your friend cares more about you than about clicking the "forward" button, and enough to refrain from sharing your e-mail address (as well as her own) with spammers.
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(NT) Never been hacked, pure luck *smile* [EOM]
by Doh_1 / March 9, 2012 10:46 AM PST
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Lucky me
by netsiu / March 9, 2012 10:52 AM PST

Luck my have something to do with it but I think mostly because I seldom "Social communicate". I have a Facebook account with privacy settings as tight as I can and still allow friends to see. And I am seldom on.

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I think never -- there is one possibiliy several years ago -
by oterrya / March 9, 2012 11:39 AM PST

It was back inthe days of dial-up. I immediately closed my account and changed ISPs.

Since the, I think not. I have been spoofed a half-dozen or so times. I got some annoying emails from people telling me I had a virus until I pointed out in the header that the emails did not originate from me -- they only looked like they did on the surface. I have forwarded each to the appropriate agency -- including the ISP of the originator and none of them lasted long. No incidents now in several years.

I will not delineate my strategies -- that would be foolish.

1. Use good strong passwords on all of your on-line accounts -- make them different.
2. Automatically scan ALL of your in coming email.
3. Be careful of the Web-Sites you visit. Your security program should monitor all your web browsing.
4. If someone requests private information, treat it as if they had asked for your wallet.
5. Use common sense. If it looks too good to be true, it undoubtedly is.

Good Luck.
. . . . T.

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Hacked email account.
by dxjanis / March 9, 2012 12:43 PM PST

Yes, I have been hacked one time. I use a mail client to access my email via POP3. A friend gave me a heads-up when he received the first piece of spam from "me". I changed my password and that cured the problem.

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Has your email been hacked?
by Briana2006 / March 9, 2012 3:32 PM PST

While I appreciate all of the comments concerning security precautions, I, too, have used all of these precautions, but something happened - October 16, 2011, IOS was installed, and ever since then, my compter has had a very serious problem. It was taken to the Geek Squad, on November 12, 2011, (it would have been taken sooner, but my boyfriend kept thinking I was just being paranoid) then he experienced it on my computer himself. I actually have IT specialists who are very,very intelligent invading my computer, re-directing my every move, monitoring (through my iPhone) my voice and photographing me through another device. I have not had one minute of privacy, literally, since the middle of October.

The professionals I took the computer to said I had done everything right, there was NOTHING I COULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY THAT WOULD HAVE CHANGED THE OUTCOME. This is a self-replicating virus, very new and does not even have a name yet, but they were able to get rid of it, and it returned the next day. It is the most frustrating experience I have ever been through.

Have you ever been monitored 24/7 for months at a time, not a minute of privacy to be had? This is what I have been going through, and at the same time (one week later) my sister passed away, leaving me the sole survivor of the family. Now you can imagine the business that I have had to conduct, with someone watching over my shoulder the whole time?. I have been a victim (God, I hate to use that word) of Identity Theft, I get usually 50+ phone calls for pay-day loans every single day. Then my computer is inundated with emails from these loan companies, too, to the tune of 15,000 emails per week. Then my bank account was next, I have not had a payday since November, they got it all, and my bank, as compassionate as they are, just doesn't understand an unknown virus that is able to monitor a person's activities,steal their money, crowd their computer, write checks in my name from my account (which were finally deem fraudulent) but they just did not understand for the longest time. Now they are cooperating with me, but I am no where near cleaning up my credit report, which is a holy mess!!!!!!

I am not saying this to solicit pity, I am trying to warn everyone that there is a very NASTY group out there who does not care what they do to the quality of your life, they are mainly interested in getting what they want which is - CONTROL - and that thay have done very well.
I am going to have to replace every bit of my digital equipment, without doing that I am sunk .

Please be careful, they are on the prowl. and they do not seem to care what your feelings are or how it affects your life. I am only concerned for the sanctity of the internet, something MUST be done!

Thanks for listening, and for your patience, Briana 2006.

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Has Your E-mail Ever Been Hacked?
by bobber135 / March 9, 2012 4:17 PM PST

They got me one time and though the name on the e-mail sounded familiar, I didn't have regular contact with this supposed person. So I opened the e-mil to see what it was they (he) wanted which opened the doorway to one of the nastiest viruses I've ever had. Within a very short time my p.c. became unusable and I couldn't even get a response from a re-boot. Total "green screen" even after leaving it shut down for a couple of days! I ended up having to pull the hard drive and getting it wiped clean. Very upsetting to me as all of my contacts, some in Europe & Australia and even some as close as Toronto were all lost with no way to recover them. I also had my record collection with thousands of entries I had been logging for years, lost to me. I wasn't too concerned at first because I had backed up my collection on disc but that soon turned to despair when I found I hadn't been backing my collection up often enough and my backup was out of date! I had no choice but to go through everything and check to be sure it had been re-entered. That was about 1 1/2 years ago and I'm still finding the occasional entry that wasn't fully restored. That file is now in a second p.c. that I use strictly for record keeping and does not have internet access. No internet - no bugs! I've also beefed up my security in this p.c. and have been successful at keeping unwanted visitors away! I changed e-mail providers, extended the length and difficulty of my password and have 2 anti-viruses installed. And nothing gets opened unless I've had regular contact with the sender!

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by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 9, 2012 6:35 PM PST

but it really depends on the meaning of the term "hacked". No-one has ever taken over any of my email accounts, but I certainly did, and still do to a much lesser extent, get spam emails.

There is nothing we can do to prevent all spam but we can take precautions.

Hacking an account, where you lose control of it, is a different matter, and if that happens then you need to review your security setup and arrangements, get control of the account back, delete all emails, contacts and address book entries, then dump the account and delete it. If it is an ISP email account, get them to delete it for you. They can offer you another email account.


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Email hacked
by nerak60 / March 10, 2012 12:51 AM PST

My email was hacked. I did not realize it until I received an email at work from my son who let me know he had received spam from my email address. He quickly changed my password and then I set about changing passwords to every account that I have. No more problems, although everyone on my contact list also received this one spam.
Thank heaven for my computer savvy son!

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by Eludium-Q36 / March 10, 2012 3:51 AM PST

I use Y! Mail, Gmail, and Hotmail and have never in 15yrs had a hack or hijack incident. The passwords I use are easy to remember and wouldn't be considered strong. Guess I lead a charmed life.

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by FreewareOnly / March 10, 2012 4:15 AM PST


Just recently at RoadRunner.

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Never. All because I keep my eyes open.
by Godfather_199397 / March 10, 2012 4:17 AM PST

I have two e-mail accounts, one for official and formal correspondence, the other linked to all kinds of networks: facebook, theHive, CNet, citeHR, IGN, to name a few drops in the ocean. The official one has a 2-step log-in (G-Mail's free service, I would recommend it highly) and it remembers ONLY my laptop and iTouch. The networked one has a tough, long password, and requires cellphone and e-mail verification to reset.

So much for the settings. The second part is keeping an eye out for spams. I've always marked off spam, and trust me, the filters get better over time. Secondly, keep NO contacts online: I sync both the accounts to Outlook (I know thunderbird sounds cooler, but I sincerely find Outlook to be complete) where a single address book suffices, and I mark off spam there too. With the right settings for IMAP and POP3 the G-Mail copies are marked read and deleted too. What's more, the outlook .pst file can be simply copied for backup and restored whenever you like-and you have all your mail and contacts, at your fingertips, even when offline.

It might sound like a lot of work, but all it takes is an hour or two of set-up once (which I did 2 years back) and everything goes smooth and safe. Hope it helped folks!

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E-mail taken over
by devoted2 / March 10, 2012 3:09 PM PST

We had our roadrunner e-mail taken over a few years ago, and the roadrunner people helped us find out what was going on (someone in a foreign country was using it) and they also helped us fix it. All has been fine since in our roadrunner, our mac mail, and with our g-mail accounts.
We never had a problem what-so-ever with our Mac computer even though we've accidentally opened some "bad" mail.
As far as spam, some seeps through, but we use recommended Mac Mail . . .Message, change to long headers in View, and forward it with all that sending info laid out to spam@uce.gov. If a Pay Pal or E-bay spam, we send it to the appropriate departments there.
I've tried the "Bounce" under Message, but that doesn't do much unfortunately. I've "bounced" Orchard Bank like 50 times, but they still send weekly!
All in all, if I got many unwanted messages (legit or bad) daily, like that one person mentioned, from creditors or anyone else, I'd change my e-mail address and get rid of the old one. I've got my address book saved on a thumb drive and could notify those I want to of the e-mail address change in a jiffy.
Other than that, be careful filling out forms on-line for anything . . . sweepstakes, contests, to join groups and clubs, whatever. Keep things private as you can on Facebook, MySpace, and the like.
Use a password on your WiFi and make sure people can't use it from the street or next door. Someone tried to pair with our device (computer) the other afternoon. Luckily I was sitting at the computer and immediately clicked "Deny".
And try not to use your real name all that much. I mean the very person who complained about the creditors sending dozens of e-mails a day signed with what looks like a real name!!! Find a "stage" name, as we call it here. Good luck.

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Work account
by zclayton2 / March 12, 2012 2:01 AM PDT

I had to use my work account on a work webpage. I asked for a second account to use but was denied. As a result, my work account was placed on line in the clear and collected so much garbage that they gave me the second account. In addition to the spam I was spoofed by at least 5 malicious accounts and got on a black list.

My personal hotmail account was spoofed several years ago and I just dropped that one.

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Never... Here's the secret sauce:
by gordon451 / March 16, 2012 11:29 AM PDT

I did try Outlook once, and a friend had Netscape Mail, but they seemed both to have security designed out of them, so I picked up on another friend's Eudora 3.0.6 Lite. This does not understand anything later than HTML 2.0, therefore no ActiveX, JavaScript, EcmaScript etc... It works on all Windows versions and can even support multiple users thru the command line on the Start icons, even on single-user systems! It is available from ftp://ftp.qualcomm.com/eudora/eudoralight/windows/english/, and http://www.oldversion.com/download-Eudora-Light-3.0.6.html.

I needed a web-mail facility, and after some disappointments with good services that folded/were taken over, landed in Fastmail.fm. Very secure, very reliable, able to render and send in text-only, and very low-cost -- I get the free (ads on top bar) version 'cos I joined so long ago -- and it supports Very Strong passwords.

I use Email Remover to suss for spam, and IMapSize to quickly check my FastMail -- both of these can give you text-only previews.


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