Words you never, ever want to hear…………”YOU’VE BEEN HACKED!”



This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Gail S

Quote from Stratfor.com

“Dear Stratfor Member, We have learned that Stratfor’s web site was hacked by an unauthorized party.”

I have a subscription with Stratfor.com. The firm, under the tutelage of George Friedman, does analysis of the data coming in from all over the world on political and economic matters, or at least those are the items that I find interesting to follow. And that is the reason I have the subscription. So on December 24th, 25th and 28th the notes from Stratfor.com stating that they had been hacked and my info was potentially out there on the web for all to see were alarming! (Thanks Anonymous! What did I ever do to you?),

Stratfor.com has responsible leadership. They didn’t hide this incident nor did they take cover behind a bunch of liability issues! They took quick action in informing folks of their problem. They took additional steps in offering and paying for a year of protection for all of us impacted by the problem, and then urged us to sign up for it. They gave us some remedial steps on what to do and they notified the credit card company to which I had charged my subscription quickly. They did all the helpful things they could do in my opinion.

My mind however, didn’t find it particularly easy to let go of the issue. And so quickly I did the first things I could think of.

  1. I called the same bank and had them re issue my credit card with a new number.
  2. I did a credit check with Equifax to make sure that, so far, no one had set up any accounts I didn’t know about.
  3. I changed my user name and password at my banks.
  4. And still didn’t find myself sleeping well.

NOTHING YOU DO TODAY IS PRIVATE!

Today, nothing is private! Google uses every bit of information they get from the websites you visit to make sure that what shows up to be advertised on every website you stop in is something that you have previously shown interest in. And if you can follow my last sentence, then you are better person than I am…

Examples:

My local newspaper’s website has advertising around the edges for a webstop I made to look at some snow boots. Matter of fact, those silly boots, which I decided I didn’t want anyway are beginning to haunt me as they show up at nearly every site I visit! I have a Facebook account, hi there boots. I make a stop at Amazon, hi again boots! Well you get the idea. And if anyone thinks that Facebook is about privacy either, they are so sadly misguided! It is another privacy robber, no doubt.

So because of the wakeup call, I started asking myself questions and started looking at best practices.

  1. What needs to be done to protect myself online?
  2. What things do I need to watch for going forward that might be a warning of someone trying to obtain information about me that could hurt me.
  3. What am I willing to do to insure some privacy and what am I unwilling to do to give up the freedom of information and activity I enjoy on the web.

Protection:

On the sites you use the most, change your user ID’s and passwords often. I set up an alarm on my calendar for this year to do it monthly. Identify websites you frequent most often, make a list and change your user ids and passwords. Think about where you shop…Amazon, Emergency Essentials, etc. The banks you use. The social accounts you use; the subscriptions you have (like me). To avoid forgetfulness, buy yourself a small index card file box and write down your sites, user id’s and passwords and keep it someplace safe in your house. That way you won’t confuse yourself trying to figure what your latest password is.

Pick one credit card with a small limit to use on all online purchases. Use one that is at a bank or Credit Card Company where you have no other assets. Use only that one. Should someone hack it in any way, you can have it cancelled and a new one issued easily. Hopefully this will prevent a hacker from infecting accounts at other locations. Or use a PayPal or the like service. If you are using a home address to have items shipped, change that, right away.

Get a P O Office Box or one of those commercial post office boxes and send everything there. In a pinch, send items to your place of employment, but get out of the habit of shipping things to your home. And change your mailing address on your credit cards so they go to the Post Office Box as well. Google your name and see if your name and/or address show up anywhere. Mine did, and I am still trying to get that to go away.

You are entitled to check your credit scores once per year for free. Do it! What you are looking for is someone using your credit data to set up accounts for themselves at different addresses and are using your name and account information to do so.

Get a credit check service, all of the big three Equifax, Transunion and Experian can help you with that. See the bottom of my post. These companies usually charge a fee per month, but the insurance may be worth it to you.

Don’t do all of your banking online! Go visit the bank and ask them to look at your main accounts and make sure that your balances match theirs, more on this in a bit. UNDERSTAND THAT NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF SECURITY, THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE THAT YOU CAN BE HACKED OR WILL BE HACKED IN SOME MANNER SOMETIME. Prepare your mind for it and think about it often.

Never give out social security numbers or credit card numbers in emails. Be careful to deal with only the most reputable dealers. Then you stand an honest chance of being informed promptly should a problem occur.

Get a good antivirus protection service and use it! I am not making recommendations on which one. All of them still make a mistake now and again and let something through that shouldn’t have happened. Let it update automatically. For that matter if you are running Windows, make sure their updates are automatic as well.

Things to watch for:

Emails. Do not open or respond in any way to unfamiliar emails. I have had 9 emails that I believe for sure are the result of the Stratfor.com incident. Stratfor.com warned that there may be emails coming in from unsavory sources that would be attempting to get us to open them using “protect yourself from internet thieves, use our internet protection service” offers. These were pretty easy to avoid when I saw them, they were from names I had never heard of.

Emails. Be careful that you read who your email is from before you open it. I had two that I am sure came from people poking through some of my data because mixed in the body of the sender names were the names of people I know. This made me sure that my information had been hacked by anonymous and that people were trying to find out more.

Emails: Since this hacking thing I have had two emails from my bank, both of which were asking for me to click on a link and go to the website and do something. They were Bogus and only there because somewhere in the data, they found my banking source. Never, EVER click on a link to a financial institution from an email address. If you need to go to your bank’s website, go to a clear web browser screen and type the bank’s web address in yourself. If the bank is trying to get ahold of you, they will send will contact you via the mail if it is important.

Check your regular mail. We all are pretty used to getting the same junk mail all the time. Should new or different solicitations start showing up in your email, pay attention as they may have obtained information about you from your use on the web.

CHECK YOUR BILLS CAREFULLY! A lot of us get our bills online. They may or not get paid automatically. Stop!!!!!!!! Make sure you look at all of them! Check your phone bills for calls you may not have made. Check your cable/dish bill for shows or movies you may not have purchased. Check your credit card and online bank statements to make sure everything on there was something you purchased. When in doubt call and find out!

Here is the big kicker! And it is the reason for number 7 above. Go see your bank. Check your bank balance with them. There are hackers out there now that have the ability to mimic your bank’s website. While they are busy draining your bank accounts, you are using your accounts just like you normally would knowing full well what should be in those accounts! The mimicked account looks just like your normal bank account and you will not know the difference until you start getting bounced checks! There is protection that will eventually make your account right and whole again, but in the meantime you will have a whole lot of acid indigestion for a while getting things straightened out!

What I am willing to give up for privacy.

At the moment I am willing to do all I have listed above to continue an online existence. However, everyday something new comes to light that is alarming. Today there was an article today about the FDA monitoring their employee’s private emails. Yesterday it was Stratfor.com getting hacked. I was in good company with the Stratfor.com hacking. Apparently, the DOD, Bank of America, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Amex and others were also involved. Some 75,000 clients in all. We all read the news that Homeland Security is looking at every Facebook and Twitter entry now. Zappos.com, a subsidiary of Amazon was also hacked recently. At some point the price for being online may become too high.

I am just an average citizen of this country. While I am not a happy camper with the political and economic attitudes and the present situation in this country, I am no threat to anyone’s security and I certainly am not a very rich target for internet thieves. There may come a time when I just shut it all down and find a more private lifestyle. What we are willing to put up with for an open style of communication is an individual choice.

It is not lost on me that all of this invasive activity has been taking place just as the SOPA and PIPA legislation was making its way through Congress. Is it paranoia that makes me think it might be connected in order to urge us to let the Government protect us from internet piracy? Who knows, just an idle question on my part…………..It does feel to me however, that FEAR is what is manipulating us these days, be it fear of climate change, fear of the internet, fear of somebody else going crazy and using a gun irresponsibly, fear of another country, fear that we can’t be responsible for eating right, flushing our toilets right, using the right brands of detergents, etc. etc. etc. All so called reasons for additional government control over our lives.

I am just sharing my experience here. Looking forward to your comments on additional ways and means to protect yourselves! Good Luck to All!

Here are some additional sources for your consideration:

Credit References

Contact the three U.S. credit reporting agencies: Equifax (http://www.equifax.com/ or (800) 685-1111), Experian (http://www.experian.com/ or (888) 397-3742), and TransUnion (http://www.transunion.com/ or (800) 888-4213), to obtain a free credit report from each.

If you see any unauthorized activity on your accounts promptly notify your financial institution;
- submit a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877- 438-4338) or online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

Credit Monitoring Service

Stratfor.com is paying for this firm to monitor the accounts of all of us who were involved. CSID, a leading provider of global identity protection and fraud detection solutions and technologies.

Other Interesting Resources for hacking and other things:

Firestorm.com, Check out their book called Disaster Ready People for a Disaster Ready America.

Offthegirdnews.com. They have other articles on online privacy as well.

Books:

  1. How to Be Invisible in a Digital Age: A Newbies Guide to Protecting Your Privacy in an Electronic World
  2. Online Privacy: A Reference Handbook (Contemporary World Issues)
  3. How to Be Invisible, Revised Edition: The Essential Guide to Protecting Your Personal Privacy, Your Assets, and Your Life

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.

Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.

Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.

Contest ends on March 30 2012.

Comments

  1. JP in MT says:

    We went through something similar several years ago when an investment firms we had used was hacked. They paid for the credit monitoring, which caused us to start our own when it’s year was up. Fortunately nothing has come of that incident, but it was a wake up call.

  2. Dean in Michigan says:

    Yes, this whole thing is just getting crazy.

    Lately my spam box is filled with emails with titles stating that there is a shipping error with fedex, amazon, and UPS. However, I’ve not ordered anything.

    There has been emails implying that I have some silly picture floating around the net, again, I know this not to be true. I don’t even have a facebook account, I’ve never myspaced, and I don’t tweet.

    I saw a show recently that suggested many of these spam/hacker emails are originating from mexican drug cartels. Advancing their criminal potential to a whole new level, they are even more untouchable. All they need to do is sit back and wait for some idiot to open one of their emails, and they got ya. Damn shame.

  3. Good question: “Thanks Anonymous! What did I ever do to you?”

    And the answer is: you entrusted somebody with personal information. We all have to remember that if we CHOOSE to store ANYTHING about us online then there’s ALWAYS a chance that it’ll get into the wrong hands. Only share what you’re conformable with losing is a good rule to try to live by.

    Imagine if TurboTax got hacked?!?!?!

    Can it be done in any other way in this day and age? Absolutely. Write checks. Write letters (remember those?!). Have a PAYG cell phone and make calls.

    Facebook? Scary. WE are their commodity and they’re buying and selling it to the tune of millions of dollars.

    Google? Same thing. Except on a MUCH wider scale. If you’re logged into Google then every search you do is saved and assigned to you. Have your browsing history turned off? No problem. They’re still saving it; it just means YOU can’t access it. Everything you’ve searched for is something more that they know about you. Information. Information they can (and do) sell to people who want to try to sell things to you.

    If you were in sales wouldn’t you want to try to sell to people who you thought would be interested in your products? I’m not excusing them; just explaining why they do what they do, and why they give us free stuff like unlimited email, free word processors, free spreadsheets, image organizers, and the world’s best search. It all comes at a price.

    My plan is to be wary of what I share, I have a pretty good password system that’s easy to use and dictionary-attack-proof, stay suspicious, and prepare to get out of the system later. I fully plan to change my name and get completely off the grid. IF I decide to stay online I’ll have anonymous everything.

    Being aware of what they’re doing is good. Keep reading, and always be suspicious.

    Great post, and sorry for the length of this reply.!

  4. Hunker-Down says:

    Gail S,

    Thanks for your good article. It reflects the morality of the society in which we live. You opened some new topics for us and we will start to implement them.

    I have a question;
    You said ” If you are using a home address to have items shipped, change that, right away.” How did you put this into practical application? Where would you receive, say, a pair of gloves or case of powdered milk?

    • I use a private mail box service in another town close by. They get the items and hold for me to pick up. No issue at all.

  5. Gimreefer says:

    thats what you get for dealing with sratfor. make sure you support anon and those like them!

  6. Grimreefer says:

    if you use firefox use this add on – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/collusion/?src=api it shows you what is going on when you visit a page and how your info is shared.

    to help block your info on chrome use – disconnect & redirect.

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/jeoacafpbcihiomhlakheieifhpjdfeo
    &
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hnifiobpjihmmjgiokkaalgomddebhng

    or just go
    http://btguard.com/
    and run a VPN shadow network.

  7. no sympathy for you. stratfor is a contractor and influential partner in the national security apparatus that has systematically sought to reduce basic privacy protections for citizens. your choice to subscribe to their information has provided an economic incentive for their company to do more data mining and to reduce the privacy of every single citizen in this country. that they are allowed to legally exist is a sick testament to the desire fo the government to creep into every facet of our lives, knowing all information about us, but restricting our knowledge of their activities.

    stratfor is a prime example of everything that is wrong with america today. they provide multinational conglomerates with teh necessary intelligence information to rape the earth and steal from consumers. stratfor (as financed by people like you) reduces liberty and choice and implements methods of control and homogenization. stratfor is a willing foot soldier in the globalists war of oppression against the middle class.

    they are not an innocent company. you are far from an innocent actor in this issue. frankly, i’m happy that you suffered a breech of privacy. now you know how it feels for the rest of us.

    • You obviously don’t read their reports. Right now they have one running on why there has been no action from Obama on Syria. This particular article is Obama positive in that they are making the case for Why WE Should NOT go do air strikes like we did in Libya.

      • i’m not surprised that stratfor runs articles and tailors it’s police state activity to whatever party or president is in office. their continued contracts depend on fealty to whatever sociopath is in the oval office. you apparently fail to recognize this basic fact.

        it’s not that i don’t read their reports, it’s that i WON’T read their reports. i don’t care if they happen to run articles in favor or against any particular administration, i’m concerned with their data mining and privacy destructing methods. i’m against the police state, even if the police state contractors, such as stratfor, provide juicy bits of information for their customers.

        stratfor and others get paid to do the very things that groups like anonymous and lulzsec do for free. the only difference being is that anonymous and lulzsec do it to identify whom is suckign the teat of the police state and to provide information about the secret activities of government for the benefit of citizens. stratfor and others do it for pure profit. stratfor hacks, probes, and datamines information for the benefit of it’s paying customers (people like you, government agencies, and multinational corporations). that you fail to see the moral hazard is not surprising.

        stop selling out your fellow citizens. stop supporting organizations that use the constitution like a doormat. go to the store and buy yourself a conscience.

        • also, the information you paid for was gathered at the expense of every citizens’ civil rights. it’s similar in scope to a contemporary medical researcher scouring the journals of mengele for nazi medical research information.

          also, consider the source. stratfor contracts with companies and governments across the world. you have no idea if the informaiton they are providing to you is ordered at the behest of syrian interests or if it is provided to you at the behest of the US government. i’m actually laughing that you consider stratfor, a contract agency of the globalist police state, to provdie you with unbiased information. good luck with that one.

      • charlie (NC) says:

        Gail, I don’t know where Sam is coming from. I used to read Stratfor and never saw any sign that they were in bed with anyone. It appears to me that they are well informed analyst who provide information to people who have reason to need to understand world security issues. Nothing more or less. I could not read any agenda into their writting.

        I signed up for a free trial of Stratfor years ago but never paid them for a subscription or gave them any credit card or other information other than my e-mail address. For some reason they kept sending me reports but not full access. I could read part of the article but not all of it if I remember right. Anyway when they were hacked I got the standard e-mail notifications including the ones that said they were shutting down their web site and would be back up when they figured out how to properly secure it. For a while I got notifications saying they’d be back up soon. I guess in the process they purged my address
        from their data base because I no longer get any updates from them. To be honest, unless one has a lot of knowledge of world events and issues their writting is difficult to follow. Certainly way above the 8th grade level of most print media. I enjoyed reading their writtings but sometimes left without fully understanding what I had read. Not because it was necessarily over my head but because I didn’t understand the context of some things they talked about. In a way it was like trying to understand a Calculus text without having studies Algebra.

        • dude, it’s undeniable that stratfor is a privately owned intelligence gathering company. who do you think pays for the information gathered by a privately owned intelligence gathering company? what methods do you think they employ to gather information?

    • JeffintheWest says:

      Dude, you come across hostile and sound as if you also wear a tin-foil hat. I don’t really think Gail S. is a closet Nazi trying to steal your personal liberties. Calm down. My personal information has been stolen from the local charity hospital for crying out loud, and I can almost certainly assure you they are not a front for the Bavarian Illuminati or the secret mind-control lasers. It’s just who happened to screw up and lose her data. I’m pretty sure it’s happened to HuffPo too….

      • i don’t care how i appear to you. if you had any guts at all, if you were a man in the least bit, you’d be capable of rebutting my points. yet, you cling to ad hominem attacks because you lack integrity and purpose.

        i don’t personally believe she’s a nazi, either, but the fact of the matter is that every citizen has an obligation to make a certain determination as to whether or not we will willingly participate in the activities of the police state. gail s has chosen to pay money to a contractor of the american police state. stratfor datamines social media and other internet outlets, monitors citizens’ activities, and provides that information to the highest bidder, typically the american government.

        do you think that is acceptable? do you believe that a person has the right to be left unbothered, unmonitored, and undetected in areas that are beyond the scope of the constitution? i believe in liberty. maybe you don’t. maybe you’re worried about what other people think of you, rather than having an ounce of personal integrity and a willingness to exert your inalienable rights in the face of oppressive police state tactics, like those of stratfor.

        if you lack that basic conviction, you cannot call yourself a man. you can call yourself a slave.

        • “stratfor datamines social media and other internet outlets, monitors citizens’ activities, and provides that information to the highest bidder” as does Google, Facebook, and a host of others.

      • Thanks Jeff, no I am no Nazi, There is always one that totally misses the point. Thanks for coming to my defense. I am not interested in stealing anybody’s personal liberties, just trying to make sure that I stay as safe as I can, learn something along the way, gather the viewpoints of nearly everyone and then make my own decisions. And while I am at, share with others what I learned while going through a tough time. As far as Sam’s judgement of my choice of websites, it is still a free country and he is entitled to his uneducated opinion if he wants. However, I hope that we can ignore him and learn some stuff on how to make ourselves as secure as we choose to be.

        • or rather, there is always the one who sees the forest while all the others only see trees.

  8. don’t take it personal and besides annon. doesnt want your cc stuff they are about exposing private spy firms and the damage they are doing with our tax money. they are a company that should be hung for treason selling and acting on information that they BUY from congressmen,foriegn agents,foreign gov’t you have nothing to worry about unless your one of them

    • Kelley, Annon is the one that published all the private cc info, so while they might not want it, they put it out where it is available to others to steal. I read their reports and lots of others mainly because what you get in the local press, depending on which way it leans is very biased. I like to get information from many sources, research it and make up my own mind.

  9. wheelsee says:

    While you are right about getting a free credit report annually from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian), I would recommend only getting a report from ONE now………then check one of the other two in 4 months, then the third in another 4 months……

    The above method allows you to keep an eye on things every 4 months versus waiting a year. Of course, if you have been “hacked” or had fraudulent charges, you are able to get free reports by calling the above Credit Reporting folks and telling them what has happened and requesting a report (this should not count as your free report).

    I also have the 3 reporting folks listed on my phone (numbers listed above)….just in case I get that phone call from my bank or credit card company or I lose a card, i can immediately notify.

  10. K Fields says:

    Gail S,
    Would you explain your statement, “They took additional steps in offering and paying for a year of protection for all of us impacted by the problem, and then urged us to sign up for it.” in some more detail? Was Stratfor recommending a specific “credit protection” service? That “urged us to sign up for it” really caught my eye! Is there a connection between Stratfor and their recommended protection service?
    I’m sure we all remember the $12 million fine that was levied against LifeLock for “deceptive business practices and for failing to secure sensitive customer data” a couple of years ago.

    • No dear, nothing so paranoid at all. They hired the service to help with the protection for a year. Simple, it was our individual choice whether or not we chose to use it. I chose to use it AND to do the other things to protect myself on my own. As I said in my original post, Zappos got hacked as well. They are a retail op and it was anonymous again doing the hacking. The point is not whose servers got hacked, it is that we are all at risk, because it appears anyone’s server can be hacked. Those out there that want to make some “political” statement about Strafor are free to speal. It is NOT my point!

  11. Due to a “lost” laptop in our state’s govt I was informed that my family’s information may have been jeopardized & the state paid for 2 years of protection. Since I assumed it may have gotten into the wrong hands and was sitting on a shelf until the protection ran out I chose to pay for the monitoring service after the two years. While I’m not thrilled I feel it’s the price of using the net. The time may come when I choose to log off for good – who knows.

    Along similar lines, if you are on the net and see a warning box that a particular site might be “dangerous” etc, you might not want to click the suggestion to leave it ~ just close the browser. I did it once and spent a night getting the virus out of my computer. This popped up appearing as though Windows needed to fix something – really sneaky and looks pretty legit.

    Thanks for the reminders in your article, I need to do a better job myself of changing passwords etc..

    • Only Me, I did that as well! That little virus came in on a software update from Adobe. Before I got it handled, it was telling my hard drive was dead. Again, it is all about the attacks, the hacks, etc. Not about some political point of view.

  12. JeffintheWest says:

    One piece of advice gleaned from 20+ years in military intelligence: when you make a password, use a combination of caps and lower case letters, and always try to include a number or two and a symbol of some kind in the password.

    As an example: $KriegSpiel@79. Something like that is a lot harder to break than a simple word or easily remembered number combination. You’ll note that while I used a word as the heart of the password, it was a GERMAN word, and most software cracking softwares look for ENGLISH words — if you can use something from an obscure language (like Serbo-Croatian or a Finno-Ugric language, for example) so much the better, though it’s better still to use a random combination of letters. Personally, I think you’ll find that it’s hard to do that though since you actually have to USE the password and it’s just easier to use an actual word in there somewhere. I never use English for my word choice though (and no, I won’t tell you what languages I do use, though, obviously, there are several). Yes, there are several cracking softwares that will check different languages out (though, again, they usually confine themselves to several of the more common ones — usually western European ones at that, but really, are you so important a target that they would pull out the big guns on you? Not unless you’re really a secret CIA assassin or something. For most of us, simply changing up your passwords and following a few simple policies like I noted above will be more than enough to frustrate them and cause them to pass on to next-door-neighbor Suzie who does all her shoe shopping on-line and has a password like “Suzie.”

    Another point to remember is to NOT use number strings that are associated with you — such as birth dates, former addresses, marriage anniversaries or anything like that — that kind of stuff is EASY to find out on line (if you don’t believe me, look yourself up on line one of these days — you’ll be shocked), and that’s the first thing crackers and hackers use to try and dig out passwords. Remember that old movie “War Games” back in the early 80′s (I think)? The “hero” of the story wanted to play a game and didn’t want to pay for it, so he decided to hack into the gaming server — and the first thing he did was research the designer to find out key information he could use to try out different passwords. It worked, though, as it turned out, he hacked into the wrong server….

    Perfect security is unobtainable (unless you never go on the grid at all — and even then, you may THINK you’re not on the grid, and then be surprised to find out how much info is still out there on you), but most of us can reach a compromise between security and convenience that is almost certainly better than what we have now.

    • perfect security is unattainable because of spooks like you. citizens must get permission to protest because of people like you. we must go to extravagant lengths to keep our information private because of people like you. we must use tor networks and cryptography to imperfectly avoid your bots. this is not america!

      20 years in army intelligence means that you retired and probably work for stratfor or a firm like it. you should be ashamed of yourself.

      • Dear God Sam, you are rabid in all of your assumptions.

        • he’s a member of the stasi and i’m the one who’s belligerent?

          2+2=5. up is down.

          • also, it’s not assumptive, it’s deductive. you should get a dictionary and figure out the difference.

            • Actually it is only deductive if you have empirical evidence to back up your claim, and from what I can tell these are the assumptions of someone who really needs to get a life. Perhaps you should stop listeneing to Alex Jones.

    • Thanks Jeff, I like your ideas! I am going to mingle them in to what I am already doing!

  13. MENTALMATT says:

    Excellent post in my job we have seen so much of this it would make your socks fall off. The story gets even better because to investigate fraud is the worst job in the detective bureau, its God awful, and most of the time it leads to dead ends. I would much rather stay to the Armed Robberies, and the Shootings, and assist with anything but Fraud cases. While I havent done it yet i think the Life Lock might be a good thing to get into. God Bless

  14. Uncle Charlie says:

    Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t worry about fancy passwords because I don’t do banking or anything important on line nor do I store important info on my computer. I just do email and browse on the net. I’m old fashioned and do everything else by paper.

  15. village idiot says:

    Gail, it’s a shame that a troll came in here and tried to ruin your thread. I don’t use the internet for anything other than checking on blogs and sending some e-mail of a non-personal type. I don’t have anything on my computer that would identify any banking or economic activity I might be involved in. Of course, if you have a bank credit card, etc. it is possible for the bank to get hacked and for you to still suffer. That’s why I got rid of my credit cards a couple of years ago, and my debit card as well. I live pretty simply, use cash for most purchases, and that is my chosen path. It’s not for everyone, and that’s why articles like yours are important. I found it very informative, and hope many here took your advice to heart. Getting hacked can ruin you financially, and causes headaches and stress for years. If the government had taken this stuff seriously from the start, and treated these hackers like the criminals they are, there would be a lot fewer of them today, and a lot more of them in jail, where they belong. I had a hard drive destroyed by one of these little creeps years ago, and it cost me $500. There is no difference between a coward that hides behind a computer screen, and a robber, except at least the robber has some guts.

    • Don’t be so quick to take refuge with the government. It would just as soon exact totalitarian rule and turn us into serfs. I agree with sam, theres more to stratfor than most realize. Before labeling sam a troll, dig in to the reality that is stratfor instead of taking their word that their honest joes.

      As far as Anonymous goes. Try not to lump someone who’s fighting for your liberty in with common criminals. It’s not polite.

      Think on this. If your only prepping for a zombie apocalypse, natural disaster or economic collapse, then don’t worry about it. For what will most likely happen is far scarier than any of those.

      • village idiot says:

        I’ve never heard of Stratfor before, and that’s not the point of the article, is it? The point of the article was how to avoid getting hacked, and what to do if it does happen to you. But for sam and his supporters to throw around words like stasi to describe someone who is ex-military is not going to endear them to a lot of us who have family and loved ones in the military. Just saying.

        And also, hacking people is not going to make anonymous/lutzsec any friends. As a matter of fact, I was hacked myself one time, for no reason at all that I can tell other than pure meanness, and I can’t stand hackers now. I wish I could catch the little b@stard. That’s not how you win friends and influence people. That’s a cowardly way of doing things.

  16. It’s too late by 20 years.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsxxsrn2Tfs
    Also with social media you’re doing all the work for them
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ380SHZvYU
    Or maybe you like to go shopping?
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/7jbntx3
    Spokeo gets them in your front door.
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/77nqhs6
    Or maybe StratFor site has been compromised and is doing things you don’t understand
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-site_scripting

    Security/Fraud is a multi billion dollar industry and nobody likes to lose. village_idiot, message received, my employers are neither kind nor forgiving. But it’s not as glamorous or easy as hollweird makes it out to be. Think of watching the Matrix screen saver for hours on end picking out just a few digits that mean something.

  17. cooolwoods says:

    another wow.
    Gail, I like alot of what you say. some I take with some salt, disagree.
    Sam, I like some of what you said(stop supporting organizations that use the constitution like a doormat.). but your attacking someone for? not “knowing” what you “know”? maybe you should use your wisdom and vast knowledge to direct your anger in a direction that will “teach” a lesson to the people that use the constitution like a doormat.
    please help enlighten the rest of us with a list of links to very important information that we need. I’m not bsing here. If you have something thats a must read…..links please. I for one, would like to see the information that has you blowing up sideways. maybe spreading this information would be more helpful than attacking “preppers” who by the way are far more awake than the rest of the sheeple.
    Links?

    wolf pack, stay safe

  18. Again, for everyone, friend, foe or just crazy. The message here is
    1. Are you willing to work at being safe in exchange for using the net?
    2. What kind of protections are there out there that we can share to make our life better?
    3. Should your choice be to just get off the computers and close up your internal systems so that you can not be touched by hackers? Does that mean giving up your phone, your doctor, your hospital, your bank, your local grocery store, your commercial connection to power, how about your television service????
    3. And since it has now come up? Nobody, but nobody has the right to tell me what subscriptions I want, what websites I want to go to, nor do they have the right to try to dictate to me. I am neither a Nazi nor a Stasi, whatever that is. But those full of dementia trying to dictate to me, are in no other words “Dictators”. And like most “dictators” that think they know what is right for everyone else, the never see that their “beliefs” rule over sound research. I don’t have to defend my choices to the likes of Sam, nor anyone else.
    4. And as far as anybody being on the “right” for hacking websites in the “fight for freedom” or whatever the point is supposed to be? “Tis an illegal activity, plain and simple. One that causes chaos, which according to a large group of folks these days “believes” that their “ends” justify their “means”. Create enough chaos and they become in control in order to “help people feel less fear and anxiety”.
    And those that want to create all this chaos, have yet to come up with any credible plan for how they, if they ever do control, will be able create anything but the continued chaos they are so fervently working for, because that is all they know, all that they believe, and they haven’t once ever figured out what is beyond that point.

    • RedWulf says:

      Those willing to trade security for freedom deserve neither and lose both.

      Correct, no one has the right to tell you what to do.

  19. cooolwoods says:

    Gail s,
    canada has the strictest privacy laws, a service like
    http://www.freeproxy.ca/
    as an example, you can route your ip through a canadian server and your own provider wont know your ip.
    a quick search(dont use google if you want opsec) will bring several choices with different levels of security and costs.some are even free.
    or for searching you could try
    https://startpage.com/
    they search by proxy for you. no record of your searches are recorded. you can even surf by proxy although this is slower.
    just trying to answer #2
    I am in no way trying to tell you what to do #3

    stay safe

  20. RedWulf says:

    Yes, we all need to be careful on the net. Also remember that there’s no such thing as 100% secure while online.

    In response to 4

    First; what sometimes seems illegal or criminal at first becomes heroic afterwards. I cite our Founding Fathers as an example. What they did was treason, treason against the throne of Britain, yet today we call them heroes.
    Second; the idea of “the ends justify the means” can be stamped upon the government and their laws.

    Before being quick to defend or vilify, do research and lots of it. (Though honestly I don’t believe you will)

    • Ah RedWulf, another assumption! and there is nothing seemingly illegal in theft…..it is theft. And I never ruled out the government with the ends justifying the means. Done with this.