We recently had to help a client resolve a rules-based email hack. It seems that hackers were able to change the rules in the email system to forward email to their own site and respond – and they could activate or deactivate the rule at will.
The problem showed up when our client’s clients were flooded with messages about sharing files. The client normally does share files – and so do we; it was the volume that grabbed their attention. Fortunately for everyone in this email chain, we were one of those who got caught up in the problem, and that helped us understand what was going on.
The hackers changed the rules for handling emails. They were able to intercept emails and then send new messages to the original senders with a request to share files. The requests, of course, looked like they were coming from our client. Sharing those files gave the hackers access to the computer systems of anyone who responded to that request.
We were able to go in and fix the rules that affected our client’s system. It wasn’t particularly difficult to do once we identified the problem. But what can you do solve the problem and/or prevent it? The answers won’t surprise you.
- Everyone who uses email should make sure you have strong, secure passwords for your email – and for your network, too. We find that in most cases, our clients who get hacked have simple passwords that are easy for hackers to figure out. So, the best thing you can do before anything else is to change your email password and make sure it’s strong – upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
- Make sure your anti-virus and malware software is up to date and running
- If you see something that looks just the slightest bit out of order – different writing or phrasing or spelling mistakes – don’t click on a link. Don’t reply to the email, either. If you have a question, pick up the phone. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, and the cell phone was introduced April 3, 1973. Telephones in any technology are proven to connect – and with rare exceptions, they’re private connections
- Forward the suspicious email to your IT provider. Those of us in the business share a lot of knowledge, and we have a good chance of determining if the request to share is legitimate or where there could be problems
- Call us to look at your email setup and see what rules might have been placed on your account without you knowing it. Even if you’ve changed your password, hackers still have ways of planting malware. We can see if you have malware or a virus and help you get rid of it.
In the final analysis, it’s up to you to rule your email inbox. We can help. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or mail us if you have any questions or need help.