HOW DID THAT HACK HAPPEN? – Marilyn Armstrong

A friend asked me how a hack could happen.

You can find plenty of information about this in the news almost every night. Multiple attempts by many governments to locate these guys and take them down are always underway. The problem is, there are a lot of them. Many are funded by the Russians and for all know, other hostile governments.

Does everyone think these guys hacked our election, then quit hacking?

They’ve hacked (that I know of): Equifax, Bank of America, Adobe, Lands End, Amazon, Facebook … and probably a lot more than that, but these I know about because they have all been in touch with me to warn me.

Forget about the dozens of television series that deal with this issue. If you read a newspaper or watch the news, the information is not exactly secret. The busting of these hacker rings has been major news for at least three years and probably longer, so if you’ve missed it … you should catch up. Hackers thrive on people who don’t understand what’s going on. That’s why they pick on the elderly so often.

Essentially, it all happened in one afternoon. Anyone whose identity has been stolen can understand how quickly your financial life can fall apart. Fortunately, that didn’t happen to me. I lost no money, although I had to spend $90 on a new router. I also spent a lot of time rebuilding my computer, but since I did it myself, it didn’t cost me anything.

Should credit card companies be more on the alert? Absolutely. They are pretty sharp even now. Far more alert than our so-called government who seem collectively helpless to fix this. I think they don’t want to fix it, but what do I know, right?

Anyone can call Experion, Equifax, or TransUnion and ask that they put your credit on alert. You can do this automatically on the phone and you only have to call one company who will alert the other two. If one of you has been hacked or think you might be in danger, you don’t have to wait until they have hacked your accounts before you deal with it.

Once you’ve set up an alert, all credit companies must contact you directly before granting credit in your name or changing your address, telephone number, email address, or password. I can’t even count the number of people who’ve been hacked on Facebook — had their accounts stolen. I think someone stole my Twitter account, but since I never used it, I didn’t know about it for weeks.

If you think you are safe because nothing like this has ever happened to you, you are naïve. It can — does — happen to everyone. Anyone. Young. Old. Retired. Poor. Rich. It hurts more when you are poor, but it won’t stop the hackers. If you’ve got any money, they’ll take it and leave you with nothing.

These are not people with a conscience or a sense of right and wrong. They don’t care what happens to you. They do not care if they kill you in the process, either.

So, here’s the timeline:

1.  Facebook gave my personal data to Cambridge Analytica. For a fee, I’m sure. I know this because Facebook told me they did it. They didn’t seem upset about and felt I shouldn’t be either. Right.

2.  Cambridge Analytica sold my data to hackers, most of whom are supported by the Russians.

3.  They got more information by hacking my home router. This had already happened in Europe, but no one mentioned it on our news, so we didn’t know. By the time they did mention it, it was 24 hours too late for me.

4.  They pretended to be a different company and had sufficient data to make me think they might be real. When they demanded money to protect my computer, I instantly knew they were hackers.

5.  They attempted to take money from a bank who controlled 3 credit separate cards, two of which I knew about. I stopped the transfers and they never got anything. The final one I only discovered today, but again, I’m covered, so no loss to me.

6.  They locked my computer and demanded $1000 to “protect” it. Talk about a mobster move! Not a snowball’s chance in hell. There’s no guarantee if you give them money they will release your computer anyway and I’ll bet they don’t. Not exactly trustworthy guys.

7.  To get my computer back, I had to rebuild it. From scratch. Which was not so bad — boring but not difficult. Because I back up my files, I was able to restore everything. In all, I lost one document, but I can live with it.

8.  I had to buy a new router with a protective patch.

Does this mean they can’t get me — or you — again? Of course not. These hackers are gigantic organizations heavily funded by Russian money. if they can hack Equifax, they can bypass my protection on a whim. And the places they operate are glad to have them. They hire people. They are a big business.

At the bottom of my personal mess is Facebook. They casually took my personal data and sold it to hackers.

It’s so simple …

Facebook made this happen. Our government helped them by refusing to go after the hackers. If you think Trump is a good guy, remember he and his team have protected these guys from the get-go. They have allowed the hacking, encouraged it, and supported it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are also getting paid off.

You could be next. They may already have your number.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

16 thoughts on “HOW DID THAT HACK HAPPEN? – Marilyn Armstrong”

      1. Tell those hackers we’re comin’ . Tell ’em we’re comin’…and hell’s comin’ with us. Hell’s comin’ with us!


    1. I suppose we should have seen it coming. There were computer viruses — simple little things compared to today — even before there were virus protectors for computers. My very first home computer in the U.S. (I had something almost like a computer in Israel) was an Apple I. It had viruses I had to clean out. That was 1987, so this has been growing for a long time.

      Wherever there’s money being transferred, thieves will be trying to grab it. Even when electronic buying was brand new — like when Amazon was a book company — I wondered how long before someone started to mess with it.

      Wherever money and valued good travel, the thieves are out to steal it. Despite romantic novels to the contrary, they have rarely been the kind of guys who hold back because you are poor. Bad is bad. There are just so MANY of them now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Until that changes there’s going to be a real big problem for all of us. I just wish they would focus their hacking on the high and mighty.


  1. I’ve stopped using Facebook for the very reason you cite. SELLING ‘my’ data?? (even though they don’t have accurate ‘data’ … an old address and wrong DOB and no name that makes sense…) Still. I’m freaked out enough that I’m considering buying a router that has security built in (a patch?)…but am unsure what that will do to my fiber optic connection. In the ‘old’ days one could unplug the cable, switch out the box, and there you were (mostly). Now? You have to reset EVERYTHING…and remember passwords for your router and well you documented all of it in your saga. AND I don’t know if a new router will work with my fiber optic thingie. The one I bought was suggested by them… Grrr. I wish a plague of starving crotch crickets on these hackers.


    1. New routers come with the password literally printed on the bottom of the machine. if you forget, turn it over and say, “Oh, right, got it.” As for the rest, I didn’t have to reset anything. But you might want to call your customer service and simply ask. All we had to do was unplug the old one and plug in the new one. I had to add the password for the new router for each computer or anything wired to wifi, including Roku, but that really wasn’t such a big deal. I did each item when I got around to it. But IF you don’t have an updated router, you kind of are asking for trouble. Which you do NOT need.


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