June 6th 2015, I tweeted – “perfect day, slept in, watched documentaries, ocean front lunch, shopping, and beach tabata.” I was wrapped in a towel just about to hop in to the shower. I propped my phone up so I could see notifications coming in. Right as I was about to get in to the shower, I get a message from my good friend Natalie. “Check your twitter. I think you just got hacked.” I think, how? There’s no way. I just tweeted. I hoped on my twitter account and realize that she’s right. My mind started racing. My instinct was to log in to twitter and to change my password. The hacker starts tweeting like crazy, and re-tweeting my tweets, almost antagonizing me and taunting me. Then I realize there’s a group of them… all tweeting and re-tweeting about it. I continue to try and change my password, but it doesn’t do any good. Every time I change it, he still has access. My mind is racing and I have absolutely no idea what to do. I don’t know who to ask for help so I’m just scrambling and fighting a unwinnable battle.
All of a sudden I see a tweet from the hacker, “I hope your watching. I now have control of your 400K instagram followers.” My heart stops. I’m now trying to log into my accounts and now I can’t. I’m completely panicking! I didn’t know what to do or how to protect myself. I’m sure you can feel the sheer panic.
This is currently the fastest growing cyber crime primarily occurring because of a group of hackers that call themselves social engineers. They are interested in selling accounts on twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And not just large accounts, though large accounts get the most media attention, these hackers like to pray on small accounts too. They gather information about you on social media, so that they are able to hack into your accounts by answering your security questions.
Once you’ve been hacked, their next tactic is to reach out to you to let you know that they have all of your info and that for 50 to 100 bucks you can have your information protected. If you don’t give in, they start sending private information about you, to scare you. The threats start coming in… they don’t stop. They’re relentless and they capitalize on any opportunity to taunt you.
I’m definitely not claiming to be a security expert, but I experienced a crash course in it when all of this went down. The key is having a 2-step verification process.
If you want to understand Two Factor Authentication better, I did a post on Monday explaining what it is and why you need to protect yourself against hackers. Click here to read about Two Factor Authentication.
Here are the 5 Programs you can use to protect yourself:
Research them and figure out which one works best for you. Me and my team use 1Password. After doing our own research, we determined that 1Password was the best application for us. Obviously I want you to make a decision for yourself based on the research you’ve done, but I also want you to know that we feel 1Password is the best application out there. We are not associated to them nor are we affiliates for them.