The Beeston Festival email account got hacked yesterday morning. We dealt with it and ironically it helped us to start organising this year’s event.
Everyone on our contact list received an email, purportedly from me, saying I was stuck in Cyprus and lost all my money, passport etc and asking for help. It’s not a new scam, I recognised it immediately, but some people won’t have seen it before. The hackers had set up a new Yahoo email account and were redirecting our mail to it.
We quickly took control of the account back, changing the password and cancelling the redirect.
The hackers had also deleted our inbox and doctored our contact list, as I discovered when I tried to send a quick email to alert everyone to ignore the fake email message. My computer started beeping like it was going out of fashion as 360 email bounced back with the undeliverable message. On closer examination every contact now had an extra “on” in the address, making it meaningless.
As I set about repairing 360 email addresses, emails arrived from several people warning me that our account had been hacked. More surprisingly I had a knock at the door, it was PSCO Kirsty Johnson. Again she’d seen the email, thought it was fishy and wanted to check I was OK and knew the account had been hacked.
So what was the upshot of all this? It took a couple of hours to deal with which was annoying, but all our contacts heard from us and found out the date of this year’s festival. One act from last year got in touch and asked if we’d like them to book them again and our stage supplier said he’d pencil in the date and was there any other equipment we needed this year.
This is the point in the year when organising the festival gets going, so the hackers did us something of a favour and started the ball rolling.
Finally, can I recommend you take three lessons from our experience:
- Change your email password to a random series of letters and numbers and change it regularly.
- If you get a message from someone that doesn’t sound quite right, check it out before you react. And remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true … it probably is.
- Beeston Festival will be on Saturday 14 June – put the date in your diary!