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Sunday, July 11, 2010

My diary 11th July 2010

கிரி said...
Did you write your experience about how the account was hacked and how you got it back? If it's available, it is of great use to everyone.
July 10, 2010 2:31 PM

Yes. I think narrating how it has happened, what should be done to avoid such hackings will be useful to many.

Really, I do not know how it has happened. Suddenly one of my cousins daughter from Thiruvannamalai rang me up and said, "Uncle. I have received a mail from you stating that you are stranded, and need some help." Immediately,  I understood somebody hacked my gmail id and it is compromised. I tried to open my mail, but could not enter. ( As a matter of fact, a month back, I received a similar mail from one my friends from Canada, and I sent him a message stating "though I feel this is spam, I like to get confirmed that you are not in this situation." He immediately responded stating that it is a spam and he is very much in Canada safe.)

Meanwhile, lot of calls started pouring in, from all over the world, in all the telephones, and one of the callers was also my son from USA. He told me to lodge a complain to g mail immediately, and I did so through "not able to access my mail due to error in the id or password". My daughter in law sent to all my relatives ( we have a group of relatives) informing the "compromise". I also immediately posted in Sangeethapriya group and in my blog, since many friends were anxious ( even though many were aware it is spam) to know the truth.

I was worried, about all the contacts I had, and afraid it may be very difficult for me to recollect all the details again. Because, I store all the important mails under labels in respective names. But my son assured me that nothing will be lost and everything will be restored. Within four hours I got a new password through my alternative e mail id and I changed it with a difficult password with the help of a relative.

Unlike in the case of my Canadian friend, the hacker made arrangements to divert all the mails to my id, to be forwarded to him, with a similar id to my g mail id. (for example as, adding an "r" after vaidaya ). Hence, he was getting all the replies given by my friends and relatives, which was not coming to me even after I restored my g mail account with new password. He was advising few of my friends to remit the amount by Western Union, since. he does not have any phone contact, and requested to mail him the number of the remittance to enable him to draw the money.

My son hacked  his id which was getting forwarded to him all the mails which were coming to my id and prevented any mail addressed to my g mail id to reach him. Thus this drama came to an end and I started getting my mails regularly.

One of my friend Mr. Bhaskaran thought this is genuine, and he sent a mail offering help to me. Since the hacker was getting the mails addressed to me forwarded to him, he received the mail and replied to him like this.


Thank you for your concern and help, I really appreciate your effort trying to help me out. My phone is not working here. I can only be reached via email. let me know if you can help me out. My return ticket is dated for Friday morning, Kindly let me know how soon you can help me out.
You will help me send the money through Western Union
Here are the details:

Name: Hariharan Vaidayanathan
Address : 21 George Street,
Edinburgh EH2 2PB, Scotland
kindly help me to make the transfer as soon as you receive this email and once you have it sent, send me the transfer control number with the Receipt used in sending it.
Thanks so much and sorry to bother you.

With greetings
June 24, 2010 7:15 PM

Mr. Bhaskaran luckily saw my warning mail in Sangeethapriya group and talked to me. Another friend who responded also got similar mail.

I am posting this here for all of you to know, how the plot works.

I changed the password to all the other mail ids also and important sites of financial transactions also even though they are frequently changing on their own.

My son and other relatives found out, it is possible that the hacker might have got my blog as a main clue. We are always sentiment, and my only son was my weakness. Anything I do, I do with his name. Even my business, I was doing in his name. Hence I used his name as my password for all the sites with just a number added to that. This is what many of us do. It is high time we should get rid of this sentiment. But, I know it is very difficult. Another reason for having this password for everything was, that I started handling computer at late fifties of my age and it was difficult for me to remember various passwords.

My blog is So the hacker guessed arvind is my son. He also understood my weakness for this name and might have worked with the word "arvind" with various combination and succeeded to get my password. Then he sent the mail to my contacts as though I have sent it.

The lessons learnt are as follows.

1. Do not use your son or daughter or any of your close relatives names with whom you exchange mails often, as your password. 

2. Always make the password complicated, by mixing Capital letters and numbers in between instead of having the numbers viz. 239 as last in the password. (example: qSe8bdXn7p) How are you going to remember this is your problem.

3. Do not furnish your id and password to any queries coming from any mail or site. ( One of my friends told me that he received an email from one G Team as though the mail was from G mail, stating that they are going to restrict the space allotted to its members due to pressure from millions of members and so furnishing the id and password will help them to keep his space in tact.) Even if you get mail which appears to be genuinely from G mail or Yahoo do not furnish your password. Does not matter if they close your account. ( And certainly they will not do, unless you commit some crime or go against their terms and conditions) Worst comes, you can always open a fresh one.

4. If it is not going to be a big problem, better change the password quite often say at least once in three months.

5. Once this sort of hacking has happened, please get it confirmed that your computer was not hacked. This can be done by any computer engineer and if so better get the computer formatted fresh.

6. Please always remember that unless this mail is from a very close relative of yours, it is certainly a spam. If we are really in trouble, we will always contact our spouse,  son,  daughter, and other close relatives and friends. Not every e mail friend. 

7. By any chance you have responded to such mails, out of emotional outburst/approach, please see that your password is also changed immediately. This applies to any spam mail, to which we have responded without thinking of the consequences.

Let us always have the mind and will, to help the people who are in trouble, but let us also be always prudent.

with greetings

Incidentally my friend Mr. S.L. Narasimhan has written an article in "The Hindu" today. Please read this article without fail
Please click below