A quick blog post to apologize profusely to anyone who received a fake email from me this morning claiming that I was in the UK and had been mugged and was looking for money. This is a fairly common scam these days, but some may not have recognized it as such. My gmail account was hacked and it took me about an hour to work through the details with Google and now it's back to rights, but my entire list of contacts got the scam email.
The hacker had set up a forwarding address from within my gmail so any responses (like, "Claire, is that really you?") would have gone immediately to the hacker themselves, and they could have responded and told you where to send money. I trust nobody sent money....please no....
Anyway, the hacker also deleted my entire contacts list from gmail, so I may be missing some email addresses and will have to rebuild it slowly.
One interesting thing I've learned in this mess is that hackers are now using the security questions that one sets for recovering access. For example, if your security question is "What city were you born in?" and your answer is a known city name, you may be in trouble. Hackers can run lists of cities through these things and just hit on people's accounts by accessing their security answers, rather than needing to figure out passwords (which are usually more complex than the security answers). So, it's been recommended to me that security questions should either be the "make your own" type (which are not always offered) or, if you have a limited number of options, come up with a nonsensical answer. So if the city question is the one you pick, answer it with something that wouldn't be on a list of cities. Like....10sheep! or something similar. You can use such an answer for any security question that you don't set yourself, and it's much harder to hack.
Anyway, again I apologize if you got an email from me, and I'm fine, and I haven't been mugged.
Just wait until I get my hands on those goats who hacked my computer!