Thomas E. Schmuki Photography

Phone: (954)439-1999 Email:

I have been HACKED- a little help from a friend

Tutorials and Best PractiTom SchmukiComment

If you have a phone, a computer, an internet connection, a router, you had better READ this!

A word of advice and a few tips.

As a software professional for nearly 30 years now I suppose I could consider myself more on the technical side than the average computer user. I guess that is part of what draws me to photography.  Very technical - but ARTISTIC.  I struggle with right brain, left brain stuff.

The only way to protect your computer or phone or accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, etc from being Hacked is to NEVER use the applications.  In fact disconnect yourself entirely from the internet.  Turn your phones off, your router off in your home and office, and of course don’t drive your car because it has a computer in it that can also be hacked.

Let’s get real.  A peer that works in front of me plans on doing just that when he retires.  Disconnecting himself entirely from society.  That life is for some, but not for me.

There are a number of things that can help prevent you from being hacked.  My top recommendations are:

1.) Passwords: change them frequently (monthly at least), use a software program like 1Password to manage your passwords.  Do not ever use the same password on multiple accounts. Your passwords should be so hard, you do not even know them.  That’s why you use a password program to generate them, change them, and manage them.

2.) Keep your operating system up to date.  If you have a phone, I recommend doing every (minor OS) upgrade.  What is a minor upgrade? When the first number in the upgrade does NOT change.  These upgrades are your best first defense against new viruses, bugs and hackers.  EVEN better than using a software program like MacAfee or Norton AntiVirius which actually open up the smart hackers to the most vulnerable components of your operating system.

3.) DO NOT EVER click a link, a video, from someone you do not know.  I would even suggest not clicking links or videos from someone you know without contacting them personally to find out if they sent it.  Hackers are VERY good at pretending to be someone you trust.  There are links out there with MY PICTURE that did not come from me and when clicked through, your computer will be hacked.  Be especially careful with VIDEOS!!!!

4.) DO NOT EVER give information out on an incoming phone call.  Imposters representing the IRS, your BANK, Instagram, Facebook will all make it sound like they are real.  They want your information and are very good at convincing you they are legitimate.  Hang up, don’t click the link, make your own outbound phone call or connect to a legitimate website URL.  Look at the URL carefully.  It should be obvious from the URL that the site is legitimate or not.

5.) Change your routers password at least twice a year.  Your router is the the device which allows or disallows internet traffic to and from your internet provider in your house.  Better yet configure your router in your house to only allow specific users or MAC addresses, and all others will be “black listed” or not allowed.

6.) Do NOT accept friend requests on Facebook, Instagram or other social networks when their profile has NO friends in common with you or even worse yet if they have no photos or postings.  These people could be anything from hackers, spammers, sex sellers, porn distributers, etc.

If this stuff is too technical for you, I understand, but be smart enough to find someone who can help you dramatically lesson your chances of being HACKED.

There you have it.  Bored yet?  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  

Your comments and feedback are welcome!

Tom Schmuki