So this weekend just gone was an interesting one.
On Saturday afternoon, I went furniture shopping with my wife and kids, and then we went for dinner. When I got home, I came back to a whole bunch of emails and Facebook alerts, asking me what was up.
Because, while I had been with my family, my Facebook account was hacked into, and the person responsible had some fun acting as me while I wasn’t around.
When I say fun, though, I mean they acted like an asshole and said some very hurtful and potentially damaging things about me, my friends, and the company I work for.
Two of the public updates that brought the email questions were “Are you hiring?”, insinuating that I was disillusioned at Jugnoo – which couldn’t be further from the truth – and “What do you really think of me?” as a “marketing experiment”.
I deleted these posts – yes, I should have just hidden from Timeline and used them to work with Facebook on catching the person responsible – and then started going through the alerts to see what had been done.
But that was just the start.
The Cowardice of the Asshole
As I dug further into the mess this asshole had created, I found that he (or she, but I have my hunches) had not only said hurtful things publicly, but had initiated a few private messages between “me” and a few of my Facebook friends.
In these messages, the person had stated lie after lie after lie. Things about Jugnoo, my current personal life, and more. They had even gotten my friends to open up about some of their personal life as well.
Like I said on Facebook, this person is a completely immoral asshole. And a coward.
He (I’m going to continue to use “he” here, though it may be a “she”) played with my family, by saying my amazing wife Jacki had an affair with a colleague at Jugnoo, and this was leading to us getting divorced.
He was also concerned about my son, now that Jacki and I wouldn’t be together (another mistake – I have two beautiful children and my daughter is just as precious to me).
So, essentially, this asshole was calling out my wife – the term “whore” was actually used – as well as accusing her of not being a good mother? Game on, shitdiot.
As I mentioned on Facebook, I’m big and ugly enough to come after and say what you want about me when you want to try and damage me personally and professionally. But going after my family and using them to get my friends to open up on their emotions too?
That just makes you a pathetic loser and coward. Sadly for you, it didn’t work.
The Value of Social Currency
One of the things I’ve always said, both here on the blog and when I’ve either been consulting with or training folks on social media, is to be yourself. Truly be yourself.
It may not always win you the popularity vote, but it does make one thing crystal clear – you get known for who you are, what you believe in and how you say things.
Never was this more true than when all this crap was going down last night.
My Facebook friends were railing around, with the vast majority saying they had doubts as soon as the crap started. Language uses, shorthand, letter cases, etc – none of them seemed to tally with how I normally speak, and in what tone.
Even if I had been drunk and was going on a rant – which some friends had asked, haha, cheers! – I’m sensible enough to not be online. Instead, you’d find me playing FIFA on Xbox and then falling asleep!
Being online is no different from being offline (with the exception of reach) – how you are and how you interact with people defines you, and paints a clear picture of you as a person.
I’m truly thankful and humbled that my friends realized the hacker was not me, and could see the difference between me and “not-me”.
It makes crap like this more bearable while going through the process of sorting it out, as well as helps combat the negativity that could have arose had these updates been believed.
If ever you need a reason to be you and your true self online, my experience this weekend should be a pointer.
Don’t Let The Bastard(s) Win
Of course, that still leaves the issue of the hacker in question. And what an idiot this person has turned out to be.
Going after me personally is one thing. The reason for the personal grudge, if that’s what it is, I don’t know. Like I said earlier, I have a hunch on who it may have been, given the people he spoke with and what was said.
But this idiot didn’t stop there – mistake.
He also tried to infer that the company I work for, Jugnoo, is having issues and that because of that, I wanted to leave (and, for the record, this is so far from the truth it made me laugh just typing it!).
When you state public things about a company, and these things could be damaging to that company’s public image? You’ve just opened yourself up to a whole new level of legal action.
While you might have thought it’d be fun to try and damage my personal and professional reputation, the game changes when you publicly involve a company. Something the hacker will no doubt find out soon…
My recommendation? Don’t take stuff like this lying down – fight back and work with the network or platform in question and make sure they don’t get away with it, where possible.
On that note, I’d just like to say I’m incredibly grateful for the support Jugnoo’s executive team gave me on Saturday night when I brought this to their attention (and are still giving me). That level of backing just adds to the hilarity of the “I’m unhappy at Jugnoo” statement made by the hacker.
Keep Yourself Safe
What this whole process has shown me is that we’re always vulnerable online. I consider myself to be a veteran in this space, and as such take a lot of measures to make my accounts secure.
But, as shown here, sometimes it may not be enough. The hacker seems to have known enough personal information about me to bypass my security levels, and that’s how they accessed Facebook (this is my guess, and not confirmed by Facebook yet).
So if someone who is very active in this space can be caught out, it shows the dangers for all of us.
To avoid this, make sure you have your accounts locked down as tight as they can be. On Facebook, for example, go into your Account Settings and make sure Secure Browsing is enabled; Login Notifications are enabled; and Login Approvals are enabled.
These steps will ensure you’re alerted when someone tries to access your account from a non-recognized source.
Changing your main email for alerts is also recommended, and don’t share that information with anyone. Do the same with any networks or public platforms you’re a part of – use their Help Desks if unsure of the process.
As this weekend has shown to me, we’re all at risk from idiots wanting our private information, or assholes trying to damage our reputation. Don’t make it easy for them.
As for the idiot that hacked me? I hope you’re reading this, since you left a pretty big trail to follow – watch your back, because the legal stuff will be starting soon…
And to my friends and colleagues that have supported me immensely in the 24 hours or so, I truly am grateful. Thank you.