Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
In a shocking instance of high tech harassment, a hacker took over a woman’s Facebook account while she was on a camping trip, with no Internet and no cell phone service. The hacker impersonated this woman, but instead of attempting to scam her family and friends out of cash, he used her Facebook profile to post suicidal messages, including, “My only friend is the handgun in the back of my closet,” and, “I don’t want a funeral or memorial, I want it to be like I never existed.” After two and a half hours of Facebook drama, the victim happened to regain cell phone reception and discovered twenty voicemail messages begging her not to do “anything drastic.” By the time her son was able to get in touch with her, there were police gathered outside her home, preparing to break down the door. This is a nightmare that can happen to anyone.
- Strengthen your passwords; use upper/lower case, numbers and characters. Don’t use easily guessed words from the dictionary or pets names and kid’s birthdates, etc.
- Don’t access social media from libraries, internet cafes or any public computers that could have spyware.
- Make sure your own PC has updated virus definitions and security patches. Be careful with all the 3rd party apps in social media. Many are risky.
- Don’t click on links in emails from “friends” asking you to download a video or see pictures. This is becoming a common ruse in social media.
- Monitor who has access to your PC in your own home. Babysitters, friends of your children and various contractors in your home can access your information. I have a security camera in my home office that monitors everything 24/7/365.
Robert Siciliano personal security expert discussing social media identity theft on CNN