My Gmail address, and subsequently my Facebook account, were both stolen on Monday.
In light of the sadness in our lives at Lily's unexpected death, it felt like a real blow from the enemy that day. We were at our lowest, most vulnerable point, and he struck.
Of course it was at the hands of a real person...one that a number of our friends even communicated with as he/she sought funds for the supposed mugging (of me) that had taken place in London.
It actually made my day to receive communication from friends who were not only concerned, but who sought to "go after" the hacker on my behalf!
One was Erik, a student in our youth group over 20 years ago in Germany, now an officer of many years in the Army! He got the hacker writing back and forth, trying to gather information and then went in for the kill:
Before I send any money, I want to make sure it's you. If you could answer a couple question for me, I'll know better.
1) Who am I married to?
2) Where did we go every year for spring break during High School?
3) Where did I attend High School?
Of course the hacker didn't write back to that request. Only the real me could have answered each of those questions!
While that brought a smile to my face, it was a long, arduous task recovering the account (and FB is still not recovered), as well as writing to everyone who has ever been on my email list to let them know it wasn't me who'd been mugged and needed money (as I go back and read this to proof for spelling error before publishing, the comment comes to mind...I wasn't mugged...but I do need money! HA HA HA!)
Thankfully Gmail was not my primary email account as the hacker erased everything in there - all my emails (mostly FB notifications that I'd never deleted, a blessing in disguise!) and all my contacts (a more serious offense). What would it have been like if I'd lost everything on my primary account? That would truly have been devastating.
It's a good reminder of several things:
- Be better at backing up things that are important to me
- Be more careful about passwords (one friend's computer engineer husband (thanks Sharon!) advised always using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols so that automated dictionary programs that hackers run, won't find passwords, and to not use the same passwords over and over)
- Be aware of evil in this world
- Be proactive in taking a stand against that evil!!
You should have seen me out on my balcony, taking a break that evening from sorting it all out...I was in major spiritual warfare mode! My neighbors must have wondered what I was doing as I was out there calling on God's spiritual forces to protect us from the evil that was upon us! It truly felt that palpable that I was compelled to take my stand and FIGHT.
It's a terrible feeling of violation to be hacked like that.
But what Satan meant for evil, God is using for good. That's His specialty and I'm thankful to belong to Him at a time like this.