Brought to you by Super EditorPlease consider ing and commenting on this article so it can reach more people.
Here's a message about a "hacker" that has been appearing in my inbox lately. I've added paragraph breaks so that it's easier to read, but I have edited nothing else.
SIGNAL BOOST: HEY, PLEASE READ THIS- ITS SERIOUSLY IMPORTANT THE FATE OF YOUR INTERNET-LIFE IS AT STAKE!!!!!! APPARENTLY THERE IS A HACKER ON DEVIANTART, CALLED 'LIFE OWNER'..... TELL EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST BECAUSE IF SOMEBODY ON YOUR LIST ADDS HIM THEN YOU WILL GET HIM ON YOUR LIST. HE WILL FIGURE OUT YOUR ID COMPUTER ADDRESS, SO COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE EVEN IF YOU DON'T CARE FOR THEM AND FAST BECAUSE IF HE HACKS THEIR EMAIL HE HACKS YOUR MAIL TOO (I think what it means by that is that he could assume the identity of your friends, and FOOL you into opening the letter since you think it's your friend that's sending it )!!...
Anyone using Internet mail such as Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and so on. This information arrived this morning, Direct from both Microsoft and Norton. Please send it to everybody you know who has access to the Internet.
You may receive an apparently harmless e-mail titled 'Mail Server Report' If you open either file, a message will appear on your screen saying: 'It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful.' Subsequently you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC, And the person who sent it to you will gain access to your name, e-mail and password. This is a new virus which started to circulate on Saturday afternoon.
AOL has already confirmed the severity, and the anti virus software's are not capable of destroying it . The virus has been created by a hacker who calls himself 'life owner'.. PLEASE SEND A COPY OF THIS TO ALL Remember, always be careful of messages you receive in email-don't open them unless you're 100% POSITIVE they're safe. If you have even the SLIGHTEST doubt, DON'T open it-DELETE it, it's the smart thing to do!
Looks scary? Yes. Looks believable? No. Here are the warning signs:
~It's full of grammar mistakes, all caps, and unnecessary exclamation points (common in chain mail that uses scare tactics, such as the "I'm the ghost of an insane child who will murder you if you don't send this to 15 people" variant).
~It refers to a real "Mail Server Report" email virus that circulated ages ago. That virus used technology that security programs can now detect and destroy
without very much trouble.
~I once received a warning like this in my email inbox with about the same phrasing
... about six years ago. Somehow I doubt this "life owner" is still doing the same thing. And hardly anyone uses AOL anymore! According to a study last month, it isn't in the top 10 email providers, leaving it with 1% of the market or less
. Clearly this message is not recent.
~It talks about an email that you will receive, although apparently this person is hacking on deviantART
. Hmm. Clearly the writer didn't take the time to reread the message. Or, you know, (s)he just changed one word to make it seem closer to us.
~"IF SOMEBODY ON YOUR LIST ADDS HIM THEN YOU WILL GET HIM ON YOUR LIST"
How exactly can somebody gain access to your account by simply appearing on your friend's friends/contact list? Unless "life owner" hacks your friend's account and your friend has your password in an email, (s)he can't gain automatic access to your account
~Apparently Microsoft, Norton, and AOL have all acknowledged this. Where are the links to confirmation? I'm not believing this without proof from a reputable source, and a search yielded no credible proof.
It's easy to fall prey to scare tactics such as these. However, before you send these messages to your friends, remember to reread them and look for red flags. Does the description sound improbable or inconsistent? Does it claim to have support from well-known sources without actually proving it? Are credible sources posting warnings too? Is the message full of all caps, spelling errors, and misplaced commas?
Remember, just as there are trolls who enjoy angering others, there are people who enjoy scaring others.
But as long as you pay close attention to what you read and use logic, you can weed out the fake warnings and not let those people win.
If you're still concerned about your friends, don't simply copy and paste a frightening message. Instead, try sending them some info about hackers and web safety. (You can send them this journal if you'd like.) Besides, variants of this warning have been circulating since 2002
, so it's quite likely that they've seen something like this before.
How to Be Less Vulnerable to Hackers and VirusesEmail and Messaging
~Never give anyone your passwords.
This includes your friends. If they accidentally download a virus or are hacked, any information on their computer or hacked account could be compromised. Do you really want to risk that?
~Whenever you log in, check to make sure
that you're logging into the right website. If your bank sends an email with a link to log in, never click the link.
On a different tab, go to the real website and log in there, no matter what the email says. People can create fake log in pages to get your password.
~Delete chain emails from your friends or weird emails from strangers. While it's unlikely that hackers are behind them, it's safer to avoid them, and sometimes people who start these are trying to collect a bunch of email addresses to sell to spammers. You don't want to pass on things like that.Software, Network, and Extensions
~Protect your computer by getting good antivirus software, and have it scan regularly. Here are PC World's latest antivirus software rankings
. Antivirus programs cannot detect everything,
but they certainly help.
~Secure your wireless network.
Many people use insecure networks, allowing others to jump onto the network and see what you're doing. Here's a step-by-step tutorial from WikiHow
and another resource
~Download Adblock Plus, an extension that blocks all irritating and intrusive ads. (Google it and a link to download the version for your browser will appear right away.) It blocks potentially malicious advertisements and... pretty much all
ads, too, which is really nice.
for Google Chrome and NoScript
for Firefox allow scripts to run on only the sites on which you enable them, which helps keep sites from downloading viruses onto your computer. I recommend that you download Chrome or Firefox (they're free) if you use Internet Explorer, as Internet Explorer isn't as secure.
~Java often has security holes, so uninstall it if you don't really need it.Browsing
~Avoid visiting unfamiliar sites or clicking on ads or links from unknown sources. They may have viruses. Google Chrome and some other browsers may block or warn you about potentially dangerous content, but again, they aren't perfect and it's better to play it safe.
~If a popup from an unknown source claims that your computer has a virus, don't believe it,
especially if it warns of dire consequences unless you download its "virus protection program."
~Never download an executable file (.exe) unless you completely trust the source.
~To be extra cautious (especially for financial things), try logging in with an onscreen keyboard to prevent potential keyloggers from finding your passwords.
For Windows, it can be accessed through the following path:
Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories > Ease of Access > On-Screen Keyboard
(Thanks to Yamaha160
for suggesting this!)
~If you can afford it, set aside one computer to use for financial transactions and nothing else.
How can it get a virus if you only use it for three very secure websites?Thanks to my technologically savvy brother fenhydra for suggesting a few of these tips.Hover Over for Life NewsThe Magic of Love
| Writer's Guides
| Sorry for inactivity
| TheUselessGroup is looking for new admins