More hacker interference

So, this morning, my 32-bit computer has already frozen twice. First, during an e-mail I was composing and second, when I was about to write this post.

See, after the computer froze the first time, I spotted yet another mysterious browser tab opened, about the app “Sensemaker Collector”.

Some 10 days ago, I found two new tabs opened on the site “chemist 4 u”. I did not know about that site, had not visited it, but had been looking for something of which I didn’t know whether it was available in the UK (IPA, also known as rubbing alcohol, I believe). 

Within the past months, I have browser tabs seen opened on the topic of marriage, about the song “Exile” by Tailor Swift and a few other bits and pieces. Roger Daltrey doing a u-turn on his assessment of the effect of Brexit, too, popped up on my screen recently.

My immediate downstairs neighbour was doing some new strange stuff overnight again. (It seemed to have woken me up.)

There is more. On 14 January 2021, I received a once-only automated gmail reply to a message sent on 13 January. That was odd, as autoresponders tend to act instantly. Was there a gmail outage on 13 or 14 January? I checked. YES, THERE WERE GMAIL PROBLEMS THAT DAY! (You have no idea how pleased I was to discover that! When you’ve been subjected to all kinds of hacking for a long time, including messing with e-mail, all you want is logical explanations for any deviations that have nothing to do with hacking.)

Why “blocking a hacker on Facebook” does not work

For years, I have been scoffing at police officers who say things like “just block the person on Facebook” when your equipment gets hacked.

Today, someone asked me a question that puzzled me for a moment and it got me thinking.

Most people really have no idea what “getting hacked” means.

It means that someone takes full control over your equipment and can override – and change and delete – anything you do.

This is what happens when big companies get hacked. Someone gets into their equipment or gets into the “thing” that they are (like Twitter). They may do damage – break stuff – but they may also simply copy lots of data. Because when big names get hacked, it is frequently to get at data that can be sold on the black market. Credit card data, for example.

Because it is these big names that make the news when they get hacked, it seems that a lot of people may think that when a person “gets hacked”, it has something to do with those big name companies. Like Facebook. Or Yahoo. And that it is just your password that got stolen, so all you need to do is change your password and block anyone who is hassling you.

But that is not what getting hacked, as an individual, is.

Getting hacked is comparable with, say, your heating’s thermostat going completely haywire and you having no control over it. (Picture an invisible person standing there in your home and fiddling with the thermostat.)

It won’t help you to go change the thermostat setting at, say, the McDonalds in town. You need to get your own thermostat fixed and possible your heating system as well because it may have been affected. You may even have to get a whole new heating system and redo the wiring. Or more, such as do something to the water pipes.

But going to McDonalds or KFC – or Argos or any of the other places that have a lot of online orders – and changing the setting on the thermostat there won’t help you one bit.