Last week was a crazy week. I fell victim to a cyber-attack.
I have a number of email accounts and a number of email providers. I like to keep my emails compartmentalized for different purposes (writing, job searches, shopping, the various organizations I belong to, etc.). The provider of my personal email accounts is Road Runner, and I’ve never had a problem with those accounts until last week.
I don’t know how I was chosen for this “honor.” I don’t know what web site I visited or what computer virus slipped past my firewall. All I know is that my email accounts started going crazy around the first of the week.
One of the email accounts, the one I use for shopping, started getting spammed by porn site providers. All of these emails either went into my junk folder or were moved to a spam folder on the provider’s server. I had to clear out the folders two to three times a day, and by Thursday I was receiving about 150 of these emails a day.
On Wednesday, the other email account from this provider started receiving hundreds of “Message Undeliverable” messages in my inbox. It looked like I was sending out bulk spam emails to other people that couldn’t be delivered, but the recipients weren’t real email addresses. Upon closer examination, I discovered that these were dummy emails being sent to me from a spam-bot, and the attachments contained viruses. By the end of the day on Thursday, there were thousands of these messages in my inbox, forcing my provider to suspend my email accounts.
I spent all day Friday creating new personal email accounts with another provider, changing all of my user profiles on every web site I use regularly to reflect new email addresses, changing all of my passwords, upgrading the security of my firewalls, upgrading my internet browser protections, and working with my old email provider to shut down all of my old accounts. It took about nine hours, but by the end of the day I had successfully changed everything and verified that I was no longer at risk.
I don’t know who the low-life, pathetic, obnoxious losers are who create these spam-bots and viruses, but I wish each of them would be forced to endure daily what I had to deal with last week. If they found themselves victims of cyber-attacks, perhaps – just perhaps – they wouldn’t be so quick to launch attacks against other people who have done them no harm. I personally think hacking and spamming should be a capital offence, but then again I’m not a forgiving person when it comes to crime of any kind.
I checked my email accounts a few minutes ago. Not a single spam or unwanted message to be seen. Life is good again. I just hope it stays this good for a very long time.