September 26, 2022

After 35 Years It Finally Happened

By Paul Bieber

What was it?
Here are the choices:

  1. Elaine and I met a famous movie star walking down the street in our town.
  2. My computer was hacked and messed me up.
  3. I received a check from the IRS with a note saying we overpaid our taxes.

So, which one did you select? Come on, pick one.

The answer is No. 2.

My personal computer was hacked and gave me the biggest headache imaginable. All of my emails were stolen, and the addresses were copied. I know this because hundreds of emails were sent out, under my name, asking for gift cards to give to my grandchildren. This was amazing as we were at our grandchildren’s house when it happened four days ago. When we came home, I spent hours on the phone with my network provider and we cleaned up my computer.

Why is this a blog for the glass industry? Because we all have computers. Even our children and our grandparents and, as I have learned, most of them are not protected well. There were all sorts of protections on my laptop, and still, the bad guys got away with it.

The folks from Microsoft dug into my records and found the name of the website that did this dastardly deed. Their records were then updated to include this web address, but the tech I was speaking with told me they had over a million addresses in the bad boy list, and this meant nothing as new addresses come on every day. They told me most of the hackers come from Eastern Europe and Asia, but they could not tell specifically where my hack had come from or how the hack took place.

So, now you have heard this sad story. What does it mean for you, dear reader? Make sure your security is up to date! Change your passwords frequently and do not share them with anyone. The overall best thing to do is use a password manager, which I had not set up, but had the application on my desk. That is the job I will start doing this afternoon!

Don’t give access to any non-employee, with the only exception being your accountant and your computer advisor. Do not let any children or grandchildren use your company equipment. Do not allow any games on company computers. No access to anyone’s email, ever. That was how the hacker got to me. No new programs, of any sort, for any reason, should go on a company computer without direct permission from your computer guru.

Look at all of the contacts in your email and texts. I found many names I never heard of, which were placed there by the hackers. I had to delete each one. If you want to access your programs at work, have a separate computer on your desk. Be sure to back your computer to an outside location every night. No exceptions. If a hacker gets in and tries to erase your programs or charges you a ransom, you will never lose more than that day’s inputs.

Have your company financials and payroll on a separate system from your shop operations.

Lastly, every computer user on your trucks should be in the office once a month to monitor for odd programs and intrusions. Each traveling company computer should have a mapping program, telephone usage, access to printing, camera use and the availability to use Zoom or other similar communications programs. Every computer must be password protected.

Good luck!