I read a report last week about software being created to hack into Google GMail accounts and it brought back memories of my early summer misfortune. I actually had a similar experience as my GMail account was hacked. Not only was it hacked but some of my personal information related to hosting packages I owned was used to take control of my hoting packages. It was to the point I had to file an FBI report. In doing so I typed up this brief synopsis of the events. Please note: some of the name and descriptions have been changed slightly to protect my privacy.
I first realized I was dealing with a hacker situation on 6/6/05 after trying to access my Google GMail account for over week to gain access to 3 different Internet hosting agreements and the login information. I could not get into my Google GMail account so I contacted Google several times to alert them but only got auto response emails. Finally, I visited one of my website addresses that I have a hosting package only to find a hacker had left me the message as follows:
HACKED BY MAT_RONG VN
ME KIEP DAM HACK VNDROP CUA TAO A OJVDO DO CON CHO
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
So this is when I knew I was in for an interesting ride of
uncovering what this hacker had done. So I went on contact my hosting company and
lock my accounts down. They were extremely helpful in doing so. These accounts
included two professionally hosted websites.
I contacted Google GMail via phone and got their abuse and
support email addresses and sent them another email explaining the situation.
I continued to go into my hosting accounts via FTP
and started deleting the over 2000 files this hacker had placed on each website
account. The hacker had started his own sites as well with domains purchased on my dime.
On 6/7/05, I received another email back from the GMail team with additional questions in an effort to verify my identity. I replied with all the details.
On 6/8/05, I received a call from the fraud department of my banking agent letting me know of some mysterious charges for hosting for at total of $5.99 and $11.93. At the time I did not connect them to this situation since I did not think my credit card information was saved by the hosting company nor did I recall having any information regarding addition website URL packages purchased with information being sent to my GMail address.
On 6/9/05, I finally received word via email from Google
that my GMail account had finally been turned off so that they could further
investigate the claims I had made.
On 6/10/05, I received word that Google had finished its
investigation and had reset my secondary email address. They sent to that address a link to reset my password
and re-take control of my GMail account. Upon doing so, I started to investigate my email
account. At first glance I saw nothing strange but then noticed that this
hacker had used my current hosting accounts to purchase additional URLs. The hacker also attempted and seemed to deem successful on
changing all of the mailing contact information on my account from my current
address to something else. I promptly contacted my hosting company again.
Further investigation of my GMail account found that the hacker had tried to purchase the a $156.00 hosting package from another hosting provider using my email address and billing information. The hacker was denied on the first attempt but was successful on the second according to the support department employee at the hosting company. She sent out an alert and shut down the account with the URL.
On 6/11/05, between 2am and 3am I received 2 emails from
GMail's password assistant which meant that someone was trying to retrieve my
password again. Then later that morning I recieved the email below from the
email address (firstname.lastname@example.org):
On 6/11/05, aaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaa <email@example.com> wrote:
I was use your mail and your host in some day ago
I verry sorry .I don't want do it but I must do the website for my class
I was buy a host is catbionline.net
and I use your mail
now Ican you unsuspend my account
ok? I'll give your acc in 1and1
Though it was nice of the hacker to contact me and the hacker was polite by saying "please", this is when I decided I had enough information to come to the FBI and file a report. The hacker had now not only stolen my identity to use my email address and credit card to purchase items, the hacker has stolen my hosting services to host his or her own sites, and tried to bribe me with the one remaining hosting account he or she had access to with 1and1.com.
So there you have it. Google GMail was hacked and I was the victim and it led me on a wild ride to reclaim several accounts and ultimately my identity.