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Ray's personal life

Networking insanity

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To follow up a bit on my last blog, this is a much more serious subject.

A friend of mine got cyber-scammed a few weeks ago, because a friend of hers had compromised his account details and a scammer used them to email her to send money. She did – TWICE! and lost a total of the kind of money that most Europeans and Americans, work very hard for many weeks for.

Recently, a renowned computer expert of her acquaintance advised her to get a Gmail account, rather than use the secure account that her excellent ISP gave her. This is not in addition to that, but instead of that!

Having done that, yesterday, she mailed me and, without any reason, included her entire Google ID details, inclusive password!

So, I naturally mailed to warn her emphatically to change the password, because e-mails are public NOT private. Anything I can do with her account, now I have the information, can be done by anyone intercepting that mail – and it’s sooooo easy to do that, if you know how. The scammers definitely know how.

Once into her account, I changed her theme, to demonstrate the possibilities and left the rest alone, of course. I am a friend and, anyway, I wear the white hat.

However, as I pointed out, I (& anyone who intercepted the mail) could now “trash your mail, make it all re-direct to my account, create a FaceBook account as if I was you, order goods from some companies in your name, spam the world with your account, change all your settings, so you don’t know which way is up, send any email to anyone, saying I was you etc. etc. etc.
I have full control, now. This is meant to be only for you to have! If I changed your password now, in Google, you would never be able to access your account again. It would be mine.”.

I also informed her that “You can’t even imagine the damage that can be done to your life, now. I will do nothing nasty to you, of course – except change your theme, just to demonstrate – but anyone intercepting your mail (and it’s routinely done by hackers, with special machines) knows how to hack your account, now.”.

My advice was that “The minimum you can do now is CHANGE YOUR GOOGLE PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY!! Do NOT wait. Every minute is another minute you are vulnerable to some very bad shit. Even so, you better keep your fingers crossed that no-one picked up on your account.”

Google accounts are OpenId, so they can be used to log in at lots of other places. So, she is now in extreme cyber-danger. Really, I’m not joking, here. This is very serious. No-one should ever know your GMail password (or any other major password, for that matter). I mean NO-ONE.

Her reply was “can i not just use the same details as you are the only one who i sent the details too. please it was an easy account name and code words

lets not make life more complicated. just pretend you never knew

so please make sure it will be back to normal as I had installed it “.

What can one do in the face of this insanity? Children and teenagers need to be shown the right way to use the Internet, because no-one is telling them. There are no lessons in school and there is no emphatic and appropriate support from the organisations, like governments, Google, FaceBook et. al., who are introducing all these problems in the first place.

The person I refer to is not a teenager. She is an adult who has been (ab)using the Internet for at least 15 years, but, if even such a person can be in such ignorance, what hope is there for preventing cyber-danger to our beloved friends, family and colleagues, in the future?

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