Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Help: my computer was hacked and I already lost a big client!
Thread poster: Federica Masante

Federica Masante  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:25
Member (2003)
Italian to English
+ ...
Feb 19, 2012

Hi all,

I am experiencing a living nightmare and am well and truly at my wit's end.
I have had reports of suspicious activity from my gmail account and I believe my laptop was hacked into a few times recently. I am no IT expert so I really don't know the ins and outs of it but what I do know is that someone definitely went into my gmail account (which is the one I use for work with all my business contacts). I received emails that looked like I had sent them to myself; and when I’d log into my account, there were “new” emails that had already been opened. My laptop started running slowly. Some of my programs and data were deleted. A few times a box would pop up that said someone else was sharing my IP address. A few times the cursor would move around on the screen on its own. One time, the cursor clicked on “Start” and then “Turn off computer.” I have a wireless setup.
If someone had hacked or gained unauthorised access into my laptop, would the emails they send look like they came from my laptop, with IP address, router and modem? Is that really possible?

The worst part is that one of my clients contacted me saying I sent them harassing emails that came from my IP, my router and modem. Another client has stopped sending me work altogether and I have a feeling it is because of this. I have approached them a few times asking if anything has happened to make them want to stop contacting me but they said they just have no work to give me anymore which seems really odd as they used to send me a regular stream for work and we worked together for years and years without a glitch.
I am now really concerned about the damage that may have been caused and I am at a loss for what to do. The worrying thing is that this scammer must have had access to all client details so there is the possibility that he/she may have wreaked havoc and I may have to find myself picking up the pieces for only god knows how long.
Is there any way I can now legally protect myself from any further damage or any potential consequence of this scammer's actions? I am thinking of filing a report with the web police but I don't know if they can help with the little information I have.
I honestly do not know what to think and would welcome any advice/suggestions.

Many thanks in advance.

Federica


 

Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 21:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Run the Antivirus Feb 19, 2012

First thing to do is to scan your computer immediately and thouroughly for virus or spyware.

 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 02:25
English to Czech
+ ...
A few tips Feb 19, 2012

Hello Federica,
I'm not exactly an expert on Internet security, but this is what I would do:

First of all, disconnect your wireless router from the Internet; when disconnected, the hacker will have no access to your IP. Then go to the router setup and change your IP settings and the wireless password. Choose a strong one, with no less than 10 characters (mine is 26 characters, small and caps, including special characters and numbers; never had any problems).

Check your Firewall settings and disable any incoming traffic. Sacrifice your instant messangers (if any) for the sake of your data security. Don't allow any incoming traffic manually, unless you know exactly which application and upon which action has asked you for the permission to connect to the Internet.

Run an antivirus scan to detect any trojans. Get yourself a good antivirus: for instance, Norton will slow down your system, but has very good detection results. A good compromise between performance and detection quality would be AVG Internet Security or F-Secure. Don't rely on free versions, get a paid one.

Create a new e-mail address and inform your clients about what has happened to you, that you are now using a different address and that you will leave the old address altogether within the next 2 weeks or so.

For a few days, don't connect to the Internet unless you really have to. Maybe the hacker will turn his attention elsewhere.

If nothing helps, backup your documents, return any software licenses and ask an IT expert to re-install your OS and to set up your wireless network anew: with special attention to security.

[Upraveno: 2012-02-19 12:59 GMT]


 

Luca Ruella  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Looks like you have a backdoor installed Feb 19, 2012


A few times the cursor would move around on the screen on its own. One time, the cursor clicked on “Start” and then “Turn off computer.” I have a wireless setup.
If someone had hacked or gained unauthorised access into my laptop, would the emails they send look like they came from my laptop, with IP address, router and modem? Is that really possible?


Looks like you inadvetedly installed a backdoor on your PC and gave complete remote access to somebody else (or maybe an angry ex boyfriend who has access to your PC installed it while he was in your apartment and you weren't looking).

This means that they have full access to your pc, your passwords, chats, anything, and they can turn on the webcam and microphone even when the PC is turned off and spy on you, record videos and spread them on the internet if it's somebody who wants to specifically hurt you.

They basically know everything you do with your PC, including writing this very message.

Changing all your passwords would be a good idea, but if they are logging your keystokes, it might be useless. I would do the following:

- change all my passwords from a secure computer, not yours.
- logoff the internet and backup all data to another PC
- while still logged off the internet, format everything

[Edited at 2012-02-19 13:08 GMT]


 

Federica Masante  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:25
Member (2003)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My oh my Feb 19, 2012

My goodness, this is more worrying than I thought.
Many thanks for the advice given so far, I really appreciate it. However, from a legal point of view, where do I stand if this fraudster really has gone as far as using my details to commit any offences? And what could he/she have done? This is a scenario for potential cybercrime having been committed in my name or with my own private/business details.
I have no idea how long he/she had access to my business details, but it could have been long enough to do the unthinkable and this is what I am most worried about right now, apart from having already lost a great deal of business and possibly credibility because of this absurd situation which is absolutely beyond my control.


 

Marinus Vesseur  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:25
English to Dutch
+ ...
Disconnect from the Internet immediately Feb 19, 2012

If you are using the same computer to write these posts, then that is your first mistake.

I once saw a tv-series episode in which someone appeared to be losing all his data through some virus and after that through remote access by a stranger. Panic, terror and wide-eyed, helpless staring at the screen ensued. The guy then screamed, clicked around randomly, banged the keyboard, tore his hair out... until a clear-thinking individual just pulled the cable off his internet connection, waking up the victim from his Internet-induced stupor.

Get your machine disconnected, then get help to clean it, reset your router, etc.

Do your clients have telephone? Use it!

Welcome back to the real world! icon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2012-02-19 13:37 GMT]


 

apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:25
English to German
+ ...
.....gosh..... Feb 19, 2012


- change all my passwords from a secure computer, not yours.
- logoff the internet and backup all data to another PC
- while still logged off the internet, format everything

[Edited at 2012-02-19 13:08 GMT]


and call the police. someone who just wants to steal takes care not to make it visible that the comp is hacked. a moving cursor while knowing you are staring at it is e.x.t.r.e.m.l.y. worrying.
and if there have been harassing mails sent out, this is a case.

sure: I personally in such a case also prefer to quick up the process to take the access from them. so - formatting everything that might also delete proofs is leading to the question how to call the police afterwards, but this is something I would prefer to check afterwards. there should be still enough proofs to work on later (___email___) and the formatting is most important right now.

and since in some cases I prefer to be illogical but thorough, run afterwards 3 antivirus through the place where you backed up the data. If you manage to send it through 5 or 7 - even better.



[Edited at 2012-02-19 19:54 GMT]


 

Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:25
French to English
Nightmare indeed Feb 19, 2012

I have to say, if things are as bad as they seem to be, I would probably be inclined to consider buying a new computer and starting again, including a new email address. And be very careful about the work-related files you copy over to a new machine from the old one.

 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 02:25
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Do this Feb 19, 2012

Luca Ruella wrote:

- change all my passwords from a secure computer, not yours.
- logoff the internet and backup all data to another PC
- while still logged off the internet, format everything

This is sound advice. It is possible to identify and fix the problem without such radical measures, but that requires quite significant expertise. The person doing it needs to know a lot about this stuff to be able to make sure that the malware is completely gone. It's better to just back up your doc/tmx/xls files and stuff like that, and then format your hard drive and then reinstall Windows from scratch. But first of all, change all your passwords, including Windows logon, wifi, gmail etc. Change the gmail pw from a safe computer.


 

Vincent Lemma  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:25
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
Careful with your lifeline Feb 19, 2012

Hi Federica,

Sorry for the bad newsicon_frown.gif It happens...

Anyways, I myself am no IT expert either, but can get out of many bends.
For your current situation, I advise:

1) change all passwords and consider changing IP address
2) change the router/modem (not necessary but helps)
3) call IP and ask to have password changed for your LAN
4) run a FULL diagnostics on everything, or call a technician to do so. Careful, one antivirus often will not pick up everything or might pick up false alar4ms
5) COMPLETE BACKUP !!!!
6) Transfer working files to an external HD (at least in backup)
7) send a general email to all contacts with apologies for any fraudulent mail
8) Consider buying a new computer...it is your lifeline.

Always

1) BACKUP
2) Enable Firewall
3) Perform at least weekly scans at night
4) scan your emails and enable safe search
5) change your passwords on a monthly basis
6) install malware and spyware detection
7) use 1 email only for work, best if not a free email provider.

These are some tips, maybe lots more to do.
HIH and Good luck.
Vincent


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 02:25
English to Czech
+ ...
Focus on getting things right for you in the first place Feb 19, 2012

Federica Masante wrote:
However, from a legal point of view, where do I stand if this fraudster really has gone as far as using my details to commit any offences? And what could he/she have done? This is a scenario for potential cybercrime having been committed in my name or with my own private/business details.


It indeed is a crime, but if I were you, I'd focus on restoring my very own privacy in the first place. Also, chances are that if the hacker is good enough at breaking into your laptop, he will be good enough at masking his IP signatures to becume virtually untraceable in the cyberspace.

The best course of action would probably be:
- disconnect your laptop from the Internet;
- back up everything you need;
- re-install your OS.


 

Vincent Lemma  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:25
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
Child's play Feb 19, 2012

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Federica Masante wrote:
However, from a legal point of view, where do I stand if this fraudster really has gone as far as using my details to commit any offences? And what could he/she have done? This is a scenario for potential cybercrime having been committed in my name or with my own private/business details.


It indeed is a crime, but if I were you, I'd focus on restoring my very own privacy in the first place. Also, chances are that if the hacker is good enough at breaking into your laptop, he will be good enough at masking his IP signatures to becume virtually untraceable in the cyberspace.

The best course of action would probably be:
- disconnect your laptop from the Internet;
- back up everything you need;
- re-install your OS.


Masking your IP is quite simple, so if you do have a grudge with someone, Federica, the hacker is indeed masking his/her IP.
As Stanislav said, worry about cutting off this link - get off the net - and do everything indicated.
Also report this to the Internet Police, in my opinion.


 

Damian Harrison
Germany
Local time: 02:25
German to English
Go offline and lock down everything Feb 19, 2012

I agree entirely with both Luca and Charlie. It's very important that you set new passwords using a secure computer at a different location and that you change as many of your passwords as possible in a single session to prevent the hacker from regaining access.

Setting yourself up on a new computer would also be an excellent idea and will enable you to carefully salvage data (offline) from your current computer in your own time.

Do not connect your current computer to the internet until you are sure the problem is solved. If you use internet banking services or store personal financial data on your computer, check your bank accounts for suspicious activity - NOTIFY YOUR BANK and credit card provider that your accounts may have been compromised (this is very important with regard to your personal liability).

As Vincent noted, you will need to run multiple antivirus programs successively to ensure that you catch everything.

[Edited at 2012-02-19 15:38 GMT]


 

Romeo Mlinar  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 01:25
Member (2009)
English to Serbian
+ ...
2-step verificaiton Feb 19, 2012

People using Google Mail (esp. professionals) should turn on free (and great) 2-step verification service: http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=guide.cs&guide=1056283

In essence, Google blocks the log-in process unless a special code is entered sent to the user's telephone.

So, that would be my initial advice: 2-step verification from "fresh" operating system (erased and reinstalled).


 

Elizabeth Faracini  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:25
Member (2010)
Italian to English
+ ...
2-step verification Feb 19, 2012

Mlinar wrote:

People using Google Mail (esp. professionals) should turn on free (and great) 2-step verification service: http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=guide.cs&guide=1056283

In essence, Google blocks the log-in process unless a special code is entered sent to the user's telephone.

So, that would be my initial advice: 2-step verification from "fresh" operating system (erased and reinstalled).


This is good advice Mlinar. I did not know about this service and will definitely set it up. Thanks for the tip.


 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Help: my computer was hacked and I already lost a big client!

Advanced search






TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search