I got my email hacked into this week – and boy, was I angry. I’ve never been hacked in 15 years of having the same account, and I have the best of things you’re supposed to have to protect your computer. Plus, I had a specially formulated password, I don’t click on random links or open emails from people I don’t know (much less click on executable files), and I never share my password with anyone.
And I got hacked by some jerk who thought that they had some right to use my email account to spam everyone in it with ‘viagra’ links and others. I still don’t know how they did it – but I’m guessing they must have used some kind of alpha/numerical sequencer. Regardless, email hacking is a crime.
The first thing I did was change my password. Then I deleted all my emails (although chances are good that they made a copy of everything) in case they hacked in again, and then I went searching on how to find whodunnit.
Actually, the first thing I did after changing my password and deleting my emails was to first send a warning email to myself, saying “You are being tracked THIEF.” Ok, with the password changed, they may not be able to get back in for a while, but I figured it might at least slow them from using my account a second time if they re-sussed out the password. And, basically, I was really, really mad.
One thing that many people don’t know, is that you can find the IP address of the person who sent you the email. It was a little harder to find information on the internet on how to find the IP address on a ‘sent’ email address, but it’s still findable. In Outlook, I went to my sent items, found each email that was sent, right clicked on it, and went to Message Options. On the bottom, you can see a message header that looks something like this (or at least mine did):
From: Rose Garland
To: <all my loved ones @wherever.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 2010 16:03:45 -0600
You can look up IP addresses a lot of places online, and they will give you some information, such as the country that it was sent from. I looked up the X-Originating-IP (there were two different ones in all the emails sent), one was from Croatia, the other was from Macedonia. In fact, the Macedonia one had an address of the cable provider!
With the name of the cable provider, I was able to find their website. I was given an option to translate their page, which I took – although even translated, it was still in Greek – but I found the one word I was looking for: ‘Contact’
Once I got to their contact page, it was easy – there was an email address. So, I wrote them a message saying basically, “Someone using your services has hacked into my email account illegally. These are their IP addresses. I will be reporting them to our authorities. Please let me know how you plan to fix this.” Then I went to Babelfish, and had it translated into Greek and sent both English and Greek versions.
Step 1, taken care of.
Step 2 – I started searching for ways to report them.
I found this information on a web search, although I’m not sure now where I found it (I’ll keep looking – this was great information):
- “Contact the Department of Justice. Another thing you can do to report email hacking IDs is by reporting it to the United States Department of Justice Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section. The official website for this is usdoj.gov. Look for the section on how to report a cyber crime.
- Contact the FBI. If there are important and private files that are in your email account, the hacker may gain access to your other accounts. You can file a complaint with the FBI so that they do the necessary procedures to catch the hacker that opened your account without permission. You can go to the FBI’s website at fbi.gov. On this website, you will see links on the different FBI offices in different states.
- Contact the United States Secret Service. Another government branch that you can contact regarding your hacked email is the United States Secret Service. On this website, you can find the contact numbers and the procedures that you have to do to report a cyber crime. The branch that will handle your complaint is the Electronic Crimes Task Forces and Working Groups.
- Contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center. This complaint center works with the FBI with regards to Internet crime. You can visit the website ic3.gov to file a complaint. You can file your complaint online by following the instructions on the website. You have to leave your name, email address, home address, contact numbers and the details on the hacking of your e-mail account. They will do the necessary investigation to catch the hacker.
- These are some of the ways on how you can report people who are hacking emails. Reporting email hacking is a good step towards lessening the number of hackers online. Hacking passwords are not the only activity of these online predators. Aside from your email account, they can also hack online bank accounts and steal your credit card details. They can also hack into your system and steal important information that can be used to perform different types of crimes.”
Reading all this, what I decided to do is to go to the IC3.gov website, and put in the information that I had. They will take a look at it, submit it to my local police station and the FBI. Even if these bad guys (or gals) are never caught, I hope this will provide at least some help to catch criminals like them.
I’m still thinking of clicking on all the links, and doing some more detective work. Maybe finding the cable providers of all the websites they tried to send my people too. I’m not sure… I don’t want to end up being a victim of worse things while trying to track down the criminals. I’d also like to see if I can use the message boundary to find out more information.
Regardless, the long and short of my story is that e-mail hacking is a crime, and you don’t have to take it. You can be smart and careful, and still have it happen to you. I really hope the good guys find them and are able to stop at least this particular ring of thugs.
And if you’re the victim of a cyber crime – report it. The only way we can slow these crimes down, is for each one of us to give an additional piece of information to the people who can do something about it!