Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What to Do after Your Email is Hacked

So, recently my email account got "borrowed" to send all my contacts weird links. What a hassle, huh? After I let my colleagues know about this, and that I had fixed it, I got an email from a sweet, older man. He said the same thing had happened to him, but he had no idea what to do. He wondered if I could tell him what I did.
After I emailed him back, I thought that this information might be useful to others as well. Thus I'll post it here, and hope that your own security is quickly restored.
I noticed my account was wrong when I had 18 emails telling me that MailerDaemon failed to deliver. Deliver emails I never sent. What the what? Oh uh.
The first thing I did is go to Google and type My Yahoo Mail got Hacked into its search bar. Then I read a variety of the question/answers and articles I found describing what to do in this situation.
Next, I went back to my email and accessed Account Info found under the Hi,Yourname sign in icon. Under Account Info, I selected Contact Info and checked to make sure that no one had added an unauthorized phone number or email contact that they could use to monitor my account activity. They hadn't so that reassured me. If they had, I would have deleted those.
I also searched under Choose How Yahoo Contacts You and made sure that none of my contact info had been changed.
Under Sign In and Security, I clicked View Your Recent Sign In Activity. There I could see lots of California browser access hits from me, and two from India. So I knew the time and day they had accessed my account which was about five minutes before emails started going out from it. Now I'm checking that about twice per day to make sure that there is no more unauthorized access from odd places, which there has not been.
That makes me feel like they got in, sent emails, got blocked by Yahoo, and moved on. I noticed that Yahoo had increased security measures on my account, making me enter captchas for each email I wanted to send right after the hacking. So I felt like Yahoo had also noticed the spamming and restricted access.
I mentally reviewed all the data I have ever sent from this account. None of it included SS numbers or credit card/banking info, so I wasn't too worried about them accessing that. I also have different passwords for all of my other online activity so even if they had my password they couldn't get into any other accounts.
I noticed that India accessed my account through a Yahoo Partner Application. I'm not even sure what that is, probably Yahoo calendar or instant messaging, etc. Since I only use my account as boring old email and I mostly use a laptop, never a smartphone, I didn't need access to anything else. So I went into Manage App & Website Connections. I deleted the connections for Yahoo Partner Applications and Mobile Devices. I hope that stopped the hole right there.
Finally, I changed my current password to an even stronger one made up of random words that make sense to me with numbers and capitals interspersed. So far, it seems to have solved the problem and my account is working fine.
And below is a link that I promise is NOT spam that will take you to a funny but very useful math web-comic strip that shows how computers hack passwords and how to make a very strong but easy to remember one.
I hope this helps you too! :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Timing is Everything

This is a very interesting development by the Universe.

No sooner did I decide that I wanted to teach again, and that I would start pursuing paths to find my way back to this occupation, then two exciting things happened.

One - a large sum of money unexpectedly came my way. I think we will be able to buy that larger, newer car we so badly need.

Two - my email got hacked. While I was innocently eating my picnic sandwiches yesterday, someone in India was sending out emails in my name. But why do I say that is an "exciting" thing??

Well, first, I think I solved the problem. It looks like a one time "borrowing" of my contacts, so I'm not too worried about the issue with my email persisting. But it's exciting because it has put my name back out there for everybody I have ever known or emailed. Talk about your forced networking. All of my friends and all of my business contacts are thinking about me now, at least a little bit.

And, it put all of those people back into my mind too. So, friends and contacts who I haven't been in touch with for a long, long while are suddenly back on my radar. My follow up emails give me an opportunity to renew bonds and check in with their lives. That can't hurt anything.

So I guess good or bad is all how you see it.

It is a very familiar experience for me to decide that I will pursue a course of action, and then find energy, people, or money helpful to that goal entering my life shortly after. I guess everything is connected after all! :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Oh, yeah.

And Happy Dad's Day to all.

We had a really nice one. A picnic, family time, nice gifts. Very happy and harmonious.

Stop using credit cards.

Use cash only, in a fun old-fashioned way. Bills and coins. Money I have in hand.

No credit from the future.

I Have My Answer

I'm going back into teaching.

I don't know exactly how yet - or where. But I will.

I'm thinking adult education working with those who want to earn their GED. I have a heart for that kind of work. Regardless, I will start to find the path. I have some ideas of how to get there and we will see. If the path opens before me then I know that is the right way to go.

In the meanwhile, I have yet again confirmed that my current occupation is perfect for me right now. Whenever I take career aptitude tests or the like, I score super high in being an entrepreneur and writing. So there you go.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What to Do?

What to do? What to do?

Overall I am very happy in my life. I've reached an age and a stage where I feel contentment and gratitude every day in most aspects. But I'd still like to find a more satisfying career.

We saw the film "The Internship" tonight. Silly and funny, it did not at all make me want to rush out to Google to find my new vocation. Even as colorful and fun as the "campus" looks, I know that that type of work is not for me. But what then?

The story of two forty-somethings looking for their place in today's world was one I could totally relate to. Before, I was a teacher and in many ways, parts of me still are. I've had lots of dreams lately where I return to the classroom, positive dreams of being hired to fill an empty slot or finding myself back in the academic world. This tells me that my unconscious is hard at work on this question.

But in the real world, I don't think I hanker to go back to that system. I loved it when I was there, but that ended when it did, and I don't know that I can ever go back. So... do I try to apply those teaching skills to something else in the future? But to what? College instructor is an obvious suggestion, but, again, I don't know if that's a system I can embrace. And yet, I need something a bit beyond this writing, something that meshes my hours at the keyboard with the opportunity to spend hours interacting with people. Preferably for a living wage and with some stability.

I want a people-job, not an office/desk/computer job. What do people need? What could I offer to them?

It's a tough question. What to do?

Monday, June 10, 2013

I've been rereading Bridget Jone's Diary. I am finding it more whiny and less funny than I did when I first read it about 12 years ago. I guess I am older and wiser.

Still,  she has a catchy, breezy voice. In the manner of a true British heroine, I am busy convincing myself that the only thing that possibly makes sense right now is if I were to finish off the lovely slice of white raspberry cake I bought earlier. I was going to take some home to the girls. But if I just eat it here, I will not have to carry the bag with the box in it all the way back to the car (two blocks). My hands will be freer, and I can walk faster.

Yes, that is a better plan. I will sensibly eat the rest of the cake. :)

Summer Schedule

The last few weeks have been incredibly full. They have been great weeks - lots of good life stuff going on. School ended and all things homework stopped. But the busyness of April blurred right into May's many events. The end of school dropped into our anniversary weekend, and then a vacation to San Diego.

Now, a new week is here. We can just relax a bit and find our new pace. I am actually very excited about this summer. I plan to be more productive than lazy. I have a daily schedule that I will start tomorrow ( I know. That sounds like a putting-it-off excuse! But tomorrow's the first open day.) And a rough weekly schedule. And weeks and weeks to practice it all in.

Daily Schedule
6 am Wake up (even if tired!)
Write immediately - fiction/articles/and other fun stuff
7 am Bike Ride and Yoga
7:30 am Breakfast and Newspaper
8:30 am Work Writing (interspersed with tidying to move around periodically)
11:00 am Cleaning time (one room/area per day)
11:30 am Day's Activity or Project

See? So every day I write for fun. I write for profit. I exercise. And I clean. All the hard stuff's done before the day even gets going! And the rest of the hours are mine to fill as I will.

To Everything There is a Season...

Ack. Here's how my writing process works for my grants.

First I find at least an hour of time. If I don't have that, I don't even try. (Which may be a fatal error.)
I log on to my computer. I check in on my various email accounts. Usually there's nothing much of importance there. Sometimes there are schedule details about teaching/subbing yoga or some client comments or directions. I go through the "junk" account that I use for buying stuff and check as many of the "incredible" Groupon/Living Social deals as I have patience for, deciding whether or not to buy anything. (Usually, it's not.) I dump all my spam. Sometimes I tidy up older email, deleting or assigning to the proper folder.

I get distracted by Yahoo articles during this process, especially when I log between accounts. I read somewhere between one and 15 completely useless articles. I shake it off and try to concentrate. Next I usually go to my lists of work pending. I go over them. I remember the last grants I wrote. I open up whatever I am currently working on and skim what I have so far. Usually, I get bored/discouraged. I open up my timecards and check how many hours of work I have completed versus how many days are left in the month. I do math for a while and estimate how many hours I need to work during remainder of month to make minimum amount of money needed to stay alive. I alternate between discouraged fatalism that I will not make that minimum and cheer-up optimistic pep talks that I can do it!

I go back to grant in progress and write for a while. Maybe one sentence, maybe a few solid paragraphs. Sometimes I research facts needed for further writing. At some point, I get distracted. I decide to check my blog. I read my last entries, which always interest me and usually make me feel happier. Sometimes I check on other blogs to see what else is going on in world. I begin to think of my recent life events. A blog post topic comes to mind. I open my new post and begin writing. I post to my blog.

I go back to the grant in progress. Now I am warmed up, organized and ready to work!!

Sadly, usually by this point one or more hours have passed by, and my time for writing is up. I pack up computer and go to grocery store/Target/other errand/to pick up beloved child from school. If it's a good day, I repeat this whole process again at home in the evening. It's usually not. Usually I clean up, make a snack, do a play date, make dinner, supervise homework, watch TV and go to bed.

And that is my writing process.

Sometimes I get all the way to warmed up and then continue writing. That is when the magic happens. A good hour or two of solid writing. Progress in a proposal. Then I know that I do have skill and I am good at what I do. My clients seem to think so, and so do funders.

I guess it's just a question of keeping on with it all. And maybe only checking my email at the end of the work day. :)