Bless my sibling's internet paranoia and bless mine, I say! The most recent intrusion into our lives came when we had a spate of unexpected visitors and phone calls.
"Does Michael need help?" ......"What kind of help?"
All these concerned people had received emails purporting to come from a relative, who had been mugged at gunpoint in Spain, robbed of everything valuable including cash. 'Please send dollars to.....'
Michael was on holiday in the UK. We allayed people's multiple concerns and contacted Michael to alert him to his alleged parlous state. He had received the news just before I called. He assured me his home computer was closed down and disconnected from the mains socket.
As a consequence of the internet alarm, Michael used part of a day of his short vacation to do something he has never done, and that is, use an internet café to access his internet information and check on any online accounts. Fortunately, there was only one personal account, one that sent out invoices rather taking payments. Just to be safe he cancelled his debit and credit card.
As soon as he returned home, Michael set about tracing the source of the rogue email. There were two web mail providers in use for groups Michael helped to run, both with very big mailing lists. One of his accounts he could see, but he could not enter it. His password had been tampered with. He was still data cleansing his computer, running security checks and revising his emailing arrangements, a day later.
It takes one person in the group of contacts who may not be so careful or knowledgeable with internet security to allow infiltration and start a chain of upsetting and intrusive events.
Michael is careful how his operates his computer system. Many people are not. He has no interest in smart phones. That is just as well, in view of the latest reports there are on the rich pickings to be had by hacking into smart phones and accessing not just the phones, but the personal databases and banking details stored on them.