WHEN BAD HACKS
HAPPEN TO GOOD
It started with a friend’s
request for help:
“Advice please: One of my email accounts has been
hacked five times in the last week. I keep changing the
password using the complicated passwords that are
computer generated and now it seems like I'm getting
hacked even more. What can I do to make this stop?”
I often wondered how a doctor feels when de-
livering a bad diagnosis to a friend or family member.
This, of course, is not a life-and-death case, nor am I a
doctor; however, when your professional life depends
on information technology, getting a bad diagnosis can
be injurious to your financial well-being. My friend is a
successful mortgage broker, whose business depends
on email and information technology.
I replied on-line that her computer is most likely
compromised by a type of malware (nasty little critters of software) that can record what one types,
what’s on one’s computer screen, even what is trans-
mitted. As a result, remedial options were limited: As-
suming that the broker had a good, uninfected backup
she would have to “burn” her computer by wiping it
completely and re-installing the operating system and
application from original media. While she did all this,
she would need to monitor all of her accounts (email
accounts, social media accounts, financial institutions,
on-line services, etc.) for any unauthorized activity.
Then, she would need to find a “clean” computer, ide-
ally outside her compromised network environment
to change all her passwords again, and institute imme-
diately two-factor authentication across the board.
The comments from both my friend
and her colleagues and associates
started streaming in:
“So, does that mean my phone and iPAD are
compromised? And does that mean I can't just wipe
the hard drive clean and reinstall a backup from time
machine, because that likely means I'll reinstall the
malware, right? What's the best way to "burn" my
“This is horrifying. Just the idea...” typed another.
“Isn't there a way to remove that type of malware
from the computer?”
Yes, there is, but it will not be worth your fees.
Trying to remove this type of malware is hours of
By Chris Moschovitis