I spent last night and this morning scuttling around like the cliched chicken without a head. Not unusual behavior for me, but this particular occurrence resulted from an identity theft scare. I’d been hacked.
Yesterday I changed my online banking password. I hadn’t done so in quite some time, so I considered it a reasonable step. All was well until last evening when I received an automated email from my bank stating that my online account had been locked. Apparently, someone had tried three times to access it. Unsuccessfully. Had a hacker installed a key logger on my computer? Had he/she then attempted to login to my account only to be stopped when confronted by the security questions? Was my trusty desktop otherwise compromised?
Those were my initial thoughts.
Thereafter followed hours of worrying, highlighted by multiple computer scans using a variety of virus protection and malware detection programs. No trojans or other malware were found. My computer checked out OK; it had not been hacked.
Had my bank been compromised? That was certainly a possibility. Recent news stories about data breaches at FaceBook, LinkedIn and others came to mind. I could do little on-line, so I decided to call the bank’s customer service number. No go. Due to Covid-19, my bank’s live-help line only operates from 7:00am EST to 8:00pm EST. It was too late to get non computerized help.
Morning found me at my computer earlier than usual. With little else to do I decided to log into my LifeLock account to see if anything untoward had been detected. I had no Alerts and Notifications. That was a relief. There was nothing else noteworthy, except a notice that my bank feed was no longer active. That made sense, after all, my online banking access had been frozen. No luck. It looked like my only option was to wait for the bank’s customer service line to become active and seek help there.
I still had time for a coffee.
As I sipped that liquid ambrosia, it finally dawned upon me. I had been “hacked” by LifeLock. Having failed to update my bank password in LifeLock, the program had attempted its daily integration with my checking account. Using my no-longer-valid password. It had done so three times before being locked out.
I had not been hacked; I was just a hack.
Peter has spent the past twenty-plus years as an acting/consulting CFO for a number of small businesses in a wide range of industries. Peter’s prior experience is that of a serial entrepreneur, managing various start-up and turnaround projects. He is a co-founder of Keurig.