Question Hacked! Now What

Sep 8, 2019
23
3
15
0
Hi,
My elderly mother's been hacked. She received an email that says she has been hacked and she's going to have a lifetime of misery. Passwords were listed in the email. :( Amazon was mentioned in email ... I don't have copy in front of me.

I know she's not the first that this has happened to.

Can anyone provide me with a list of what needs to happen next?

I've started a list (e.g., identify all accounts, change numbers, user names, emails, passwords, check credit reporting companies for suspicious activity, call police, etc.)

What do I need to do to her computer and phone in order to prevent this from happening again?

Do I need to change wifi and router info as well? UGH.

I would appreciate any input.

Novice Mom.
 

mdd1963

Champion
It is difficult to know what might have occurred, if anything...

But, if/when in doubt, I'd change everything password-wise from a known uninfected computer, prioritizing on anything where money can be stolen. (Police will likely do nothing if nothing confirmed stolen, and, in the event a confirmed theft likely only do 5 minutes of paperwork ( so a waste to call them this early)

Router can be factory reset and set with new admin and WiFi passwords just for good measure...

Then have someone wipe and reload her PC (reinstall WIndows from scratch), and put on a good AV. (I like Kaspersky Free) In the future, have her not even open such 'we got you!' e-mails....

Might want to consider a very good password manager, such as LastPass...(have her make a complex but easy to remember password/passphrase for the LastPass acct)
 
Reactions: Novice Mom
Sep 8, 2019
23
3
15
0
It is difficult to know what might have occurred, if anything...

But, if/when in doubt, I'd change everything password-wise from a known uninfected computer, prioritizing on anything where money can be stolen. (Police will likely do nothing if nothing confirmed stolen, and, in the event a confirmed theft likely only do 5 minutes of paperwork ( so a waste to call them this early)

Router can be factory reset and set with new admin and WiFi passwords just for good measure...

Then have someone wipe and reload her PC (reinstall WIndows from scratch), and put on a good AV. (I like Kaspersky Free) In the future, have her not even open such 'we got you!' e-mails....

Might want to consider a very good password manager, such as LastPass...(have her make a complex but easy to remember password/passphrase for the LastPass acct)

Hi mdd1963,

thank you for your reply. Now I have a 'todo' list. I was going to attempt to wipe and reload her PC, but I'll leave that to the experts. Do you think it is safe to copy her files/photos/videos to an external HD and then copy back to her newly formated PC? I don't want to reinfect her all over again. I can run a scan against them. I'm not sure if malware can hide in these types of files. thanks again for your input. I really appreciate it.

Novice Mom.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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While a full wipe and reinstall can't hurt, this might not be an actual "hack".
'hack', as someone actually getting into that system.

Several sites will list accounts that have been exposed on the internet. username/password.
Send an email to that account "YOU'VE BEEN HACKED! Gimme money!!"

But yes, change ALL passwords, and a full wipe and reinstall of the system.
 
Reactions: Novice Mom
Sep 8, 2019
23
3
15
0
While a full wipe and reinstall can't hurt, this might not be an actual "hack".
'hack', as someone actually getting into that system.

Several sites will list accounts that have been exposed on the internet. username/password.
Send an email to that account "YOU'VE BEEN HACKED! Gimme money!!"

But yes, change ALL passwords, and a full wipe and reinstall of the system.
This is my elderly mother; sister is now involved and told mom to just ignore the email. I'm concerned now. Mom is doing nothing. Maybe it is not an actual hack. I don't know. What do you recommend with this new information? As ever, thank you so much for your time.

Novice Mom.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
129,179
5,171
165,040
20,013
This is my elderly mother; sister is now involved and told mom to just ignore the email. I'm concerned now. Mom is doing nothing. Maybe it is not an actual hack. I don't know. What do you recommend with this new information? As ever, thank you so much for your time.

Novice Mom.
Still, change ALL passwords, from a known good system. Not this one.

While it may not be a direct hack into this PC, that targeted info is concerning.
 
Reactions: Novice Mom

dat789

Distinguished
Feb 1, 2013
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18,545
2
Sounds like sextortion, blackmail, etc.
My partner has received a very similar email too about this time. I have lodge it here, and as it turns out it was a scam.
Nevertheless, it is horrifying to have someone contact you directly claiming to know stuffs that only you know of -- your own password(s).

In retrospect, I can see why my partner has been a target. Her password was the same all across and password strength checker reports it can be cracked within 4.2 miliseconds! That should give you an idea how simple it is. It was convenient as it was easy for her to remember it. It would be exactly the same for another to remember and hack into your account was my rebuttal.

I started her off with a Password Manager.
Changed every passwords on every sites she has account with.
Discouraged her to save passwords on the browser -- she wasn't happy.
Encouraged for 2FA, and changed E-mails with tighter security. -- we weren't speaking for 4 days! lol!

Had to explain that a majority of passwords are not meant for us to remember. You can remember passphrases and, in fact, keep a handful of them. Password Managers are there to help us. Pay for a subscription because they do pay off in the long run.

It is something new and needs time to adjust from something like 'papamama193842' to '5ca6s(db7_Z3O' for a password.


It's people's laziness that gets to them too.
 
There may not be anything at all wrong with her computer.
In a case like this information could easily have been gleaned off the "dark" web. Many of the hacksploits are published by well known sites such as to provide that information to people who aren't aware of the prior.
It could easily have been that mom clicked on a link from "Amazon special prize dept" and sent them the information that they are now using in an attempt to extort.

Unfortunately it can be very difficult to help older adults understand the ins and outs of the danger posed on an ever changing web. These are the same folks that we used to have help set up the VHS to record shows....and an age I am hurtling towards as well, lol.
Suggestions may include your taking stewardship of her online accounts in a supervisory degree. Check in from time to time, perhaps routine changing of the passwords, etc.
 

BigJohnx13

Prominent
Jun 22, 2019
12
3
515
0
If it is just email scam you dont need to worry. They are just bluffing and phishing for the unwary. If the computer itself was hacked and shows a ransom note or something similar on start up it is best to format the Hdrive and start over. Remember to save your files and photos you want to keep
 

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