How Secured Are You When Surfing The Net?

I was chatting with a client of mine the other day, not realizing that my browser’s facebook page was open. My attention was interrupted by the sound of my facebook instant message screen. Here is the brief online conversation that ensued with my face book friend Mark or so I thought:

Mark: Hey. are you there?
Chad: yes, on the phone. you good?

Mark: Not too good at the moment and need your urgent help
Chad: what’s going on?

Mark: We stranded in London,England. Got mugged at gun point last night all cash credit card and cell phone were stolen
Chad: so sorry to hear this. You will have to go to a place that has a phone so i can verify it is you!

Mark: all cash credit card and cell phone were stolen. Thank God we still have our lives and passport
Chad: Since you have your passport, get to the American Embassy and call me from there
and by the way, what is my granddaughter’s name?

9:28amMark is offline.

So called “Mark” disconnected our chat and also and immediately removed his facebook connection with me, which means that he defriended me (social networking term). That was all I needed to realize that my friend’s account was hacked. It was actually kind of eerie to realize that I actually just had a conversation with an impostor – a cyber thief.

I called my “real” friend Mark who was vacationing in Las Vegas and explained to him the situation. He apparently had idea of this and was shocked to hear it. I also explained to him that it is quite likely that this cyber crook may have already contacted others and possibly even engaged in other fraudulence activities. I suggested Mark logs back on, change his password, change his status message to notify his friends of the posisble fraud and then contact facebook to report this issue.

My suspicion is that my friend’s computer security was compromised by him surfing the net and accessing the wireless network in his hotel room.

Protect your passwords by changing them frequently, encrypting them, installing a firewall on your computer and making sure your data is not open to the world and especially when accessing a wireless network.

Safe surfing,


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