My Facebook account was hacked last week. My nephew alerted me, sending a copy of a Facebook message that had my smiling face but definitely not my words, something about buying an RV and the joys of Publishers Clearing House. Also my name was turned around to Sue L Fagalde. Since then, numerous “friends” have received new friend requests from my fake alter image. Where else might my face be? Who am I inadvertently leading into the hack trap?
I have been fairly quiet on Facebook lately, liking here and loving there, but not posting much beyond notices of the latest blog posts. It’s hard not knowing and not being able to find out exactly where my name and image are being used in vain.
That’s the chance you take when you use social media, you might say. Hackers can access all the information in your profile and connect with all your friends, working their way to your bank accounts and more. But I changed my password. I did everything Facebook told me to do. Too little too late?
The week before the hack, I was doing a lot of “messenger” communication, mostly related to my father’s funeral and assembling photos of him. (Have you seen the online slide show? It’s beautiful.) Maybe that’s where things went awry.
I get lots of hack warnings. You’ve seen them. Posts that people copy and paste and repost so often we think, “Ah, that’s a hoax.” Or is it? When I learned about the hack, I changed my Facebook password. Then I went to Facebook.com/hacked and followed the steps. Were some of the people I friended recently not really my friends? Nuts. I hacked them out, just in case. And then I got hacked again. I did the Facebook security process one more time. Is my account safe now? Hard to tell.
Hacked. Isn’t that what someone does with a machete to get through the weeds, or in my case, the blackberry vines? Isn’t that supposedly what Russia did to influence the 2016 presidential election? God forbid my hack-posts say anything political. I don’t do that on Facebook. Ever.
I can’t hack it. Remember that saying? It means someone can’t do whatever it is they are trying to do. They “can’t hack it.”
Hack, hack is also a persistent cough.
My old Merriam-Webster dictionary lists these definitions of “Hack”: to cut or sever with repeated irregular or unskillful blows; to manage successfully; to play inexpert golf; to cough in a short dry manner; restriction to quarters as punishment for naval officers; a horse let out for common hire; a cabdriver; a writer who aims solely for commercial success; a guard at a prison.
What a language. I think in general, except maybe for the cabbie, a hack is not something desirable.
I’m careful. I don’t answer messages from people I don’t recognize or click on links that appear unexpectedly. I don’t “friend” all those handsome male strangers Facebook offers me, because I’m pretty sure they’re not real. I block and delete freely. If you send me a message that doesn’t sound like you, I will not answer it. And yet, I’ve been hacked.
It’s like those phone calls I get with familiar-looking numbers. Gee, they’re in my neighborhood; must be someone I know. And then it’s a recording talking about my credit cards, my health insurance, or my travel plans. Get out of my life!
My dad would say, “I told you so.” Everything on the computer and its smaller companions—laptop, tablet, phone–was evil in his eyes. No, they’re not, but you do have to be careful.
Hey Dad, are there computers in heaven? Oh wait. God knows everything. He doesn’t need Google or Facebook.
Be careful online. Don’t accept friend requests from people who are already your Facebook friends. Don’t respond to “chain letters” sent via private message. And if you get a friend request from me that does not show me in my new red hat picture, that is the hacker, not me.
Have you ever been hacked? Please share in the comments.
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