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Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
Contributor •

How safe is your email?

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Like so many others, I paid little heed to all the warnings about hackers. Until my banker called yesterday. He had received an email from my personal e-address, asking him to let me know my current balance. My note said I needed that information in order to know what funds I had available to wire money to an account overseas.

Thank goodness, my banker smelled a rat and decided to confirm that I had in fact sent the email. Of course, I hadn’t. And now the chase was on, to figure out how someone had gained access to my email and who they might be. The bank’s fraud department was brought in to investigate. And I got our office techs to check my computer as well.

Turns out I had previously downloaded what I thought was a legitimate patch from AOL. It wasn’t anything of the sort. Instead it was a trap door that allowed some hackers from half way around the world to access my keyboard and see every email I wrote or received. Yikes! How is this possible? Stunning, even with today’s technology.

The good news is there was apparently no damage, in no small part to the sharp eye of my banker. But it has made a believer of me.

Lessons learned: 1] Be very careful of what you download. And 2] change your passwords often. Enough said.