May 24, 2012
Last night my brother sent me a text message telling me he had received a spam message from one of my email accounts. I logged in, and sure enough, in my "Sent" file was a mass email message sent to my entire address book, with a link to a website I chose not to risk visiting. I also had a handful of bounce back and spam filter rejection emails, further confirming the hack. I reset my password, changed my security questions, and updated my notification options for when someone tries to change any of my security settings. I then did the same for my other email accounts, my online bank and 401(k) sites, and my credit cards. Kind of a hassle, but an hour of prevention beats months of pain.
Of course, I immediately thought of the recent hacking of the TwoPlusTwo Forums, where I had an account and would post on rare occasions. It is certainly possible that the two hacking events are related, considering the TwoPlusTwo hackers apparently demonstrated they had decrypted email addresses and passwords for at least a few forum users. However, it seems much more likely that there was no connection between the two events, and I was the victim of either a random hack or my own haphazard, lackadaisical approach to internet security.
In any event, this hacking appears to have been a thankfully gentle reminder to me to be more diligent in regularly changing internet passwords. Please learn from my experience and make sure that periodically updating your internet passwords and security measures is on your "to do" list.