- Apr 11, 2003
I have had several unnerving issues occur with my iPad, router, and laptop over the past year and I am at a loss as to what to do. In December 2015, someone placed a picture in my iPad photo album. That IPad was on the cellular network (Verizon), Wi-Fi was off, as was "photo sharing" and related apps. My Facebook account has long been inactive. I will admit that most of the restrictions under "general" and "settings" were not locked down as they are now. The photo itself was not illicit, though it could have just as easily been. The "details" were absent from that photo as to time, date, and place taken. In October 2016, I had a Netgear EA6100 router set up with a Time Warner cable modem. I had set up both channels with very strong passwords (no names, dates, or dictionary words) and as always, I left the guest network off and the password field blank. Since I had my top secret security clearance file stolen from the Office of Personnel Mis-Management in December 2014, an IT friend suggested I check my router settings at least once a month. Two weeks after I set up the Netgear passwords, I went into administrative settings and was shocked to see the guest network had been turned on and the password "pepper06" inserted. I ditched the Netgear for a TP Link Archer C7 router and a Netgear CM400 cable modem. Again, very strong passwords for both channels. I ensured the guest network was off. However, I filled that field with a third, very strong password. My laptop was running NIS and MBAM Premium, but no anti-key logging software. In December, when I tried to login to my laptop, it kept saying "wrong password." Now, admittedly, for the actual physical login of the laptop, I have always used the same password. Shockingly, when I asked for the password hint, I received the hint: "S**. I could not believe it!! Apparently, someone managed to access my laptop and change the password and password hint. I actually tried to hack the password over a 36 hour period with absolutely no luck. At that point, I expected some sort of ransomware to kick in or an e-mail message demanding Bitcoin. My IT friend cautioned me against taking the laptop to a Geek to have the machine broken into, citing the fact that if they could access my laptop and change the password, there was no telling what was on that laptop. He said even if I could hack the password and there was nothing obviously illegal on it, the hackers could have placed hidden files on the HD or imbedded objects in Office files. In short, he considered the HD to be toast. Ultimately, I installed a new HD and the Win 10 O/S. But I have not connected to the router in fear that someone has somehow managed to hack that device. I checked the settings page for the router and everything looks normal in terms of settings and passwords. And the guest network is off. If I connect to the internet on that router, it's via my iPad, not my laptop. Two weeks later, I received an e-mail message from my wife with a photo attachment. It was a picture of one of the cats we had rescued who is now residing with her Mom. I sent back a reply "cute," and immediately received a phone call from her. She said she had not sent that e-mail or photo!! I had her go into g-mail account and change her account password. She then checked her sent file and that message was not in the sent file. Google security could not explain it either, other than to say "change your password a couple of times over the next week." Three days ago, I was working on my work laptop at my MIL (she has the same TP Link Router and my wife and I connect to it frequently). The fairly new Spectre with Eset, MBAM, and Spy Shelter ran fine, as usual. The next day? "No boot device found." In spite of hours of trying to run self-diagnostic tests, it ended up with the Geeks. Result? Corrupted Windows 10 O/S and the hard drive had been wiped clean. One day later, I receive an e-mail from the "monitoring service" that OPM is paying for based on the 26 pages of info in my top secret file that was taken in the hack of their system. The message said they detected that my login info and related "data" for my g-mail account, Time Warner e-mail account, and LinkedIn had been seen on the dark net. I immediately renewed my ID theft alert with the credit bureaus. Life with technology has not been good the past few months for us. I can deal with closing down my e-mail accounts and LinkedIn. The corrupted O/S may have just been an aberration. The more startling events are the hack of my Netgear and TP Link routers and the hack into my laptop with a password reset that effectively locked me out. Any constructive thoughts as to what happened and how I should proceed? Thanks.