They changed my password and security question.
October 1, 2006 5:11 PM   Subscribe

Any ideas on how to retaliate against someone who hacked into my email account and changed my password? Or should I even bother?

I got into a quarrel with someone on another board. They had posted a nasty message on that board, and I replied to them directly (off board) asking them what the hell their problem was. They replied directly to me with some name-calling and obscenities. I told them to grow up. The next time I tried to log into my email, I found that both the password and the security question had been changed.

A talented friend is going to help me hack back into my account (though I certainly won’t be using that account anymore). Now I’m wondering what, if anything, I should do about the person I believe is responsible. I don’t know for certain if this person actually did the hacking, obviously, but because of the tone of the emails, and the timing of the hacking, I strongly suspect they are.

An added wrinkle is that originally I thought I was dealing with an adult. I’ve been thinking about the messages and the hacking itself, and I now wonder if I was actually dealing with a teenager, specifically a script kiddie.

I don’t really want to hassle with someone who may be just a teenager, and honestly, I’ve got better things to do with my time.

On the other hand, they hacked into my account and changed my password, and that ticks me off.

So, any suggestions on how to teach the little snot a lesson – ideally something that would make them think twice before they pulled something like that again?

Or should I just forget about it?
posted by La Gata to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
You aren't back into your account yet. I'd keep quiet about retaliation until you've achieved that.
posted by bonaldi at 5:21 PM on October 1, 2006

My belief is that the is nothing you can do to make them think twice. In fact, anything you do has only the potential to raise or lower the bar.

I would propose that you be the bigger person here and move on. This "win" of theirs is likely a small battle in a war of interactions in which they are losing and miserable. You will have little effect on the big picture.

People can grow out of this once they realize that no one cares that they can shout louder or mess stuff up. Don't play into the drama.
posted by qwip at 5:28 PM on October 1, 2006

The very best thing you could possibly do -- assuming, if I may, that he's not from an entirely b0rken family -- would be to tell his mother.

"Ma! Not the belt!" *crack* "Waaaaaaaah!"

Additionally, surely you don't need to hack back into your account, a simple message to the administrator of whatever email service provider it was should resolve it?
posted by The Monkey at 5:33 PM on October 1, 2006

when you're back in, get what you need from the account and shut it down ... and have a knowledgable person look over your emails from this kiddie for tricks

next, tell the board what this kiddie did ... just announce it once and don't argue with him or anyone else about it ... some will believe you and some won't and he'll have a fit most likely ... let them argue about it
posted by pyramid termite at 5:52 PM on October 1, 2006

That kind of behavior is ground for bannination from just about any site I know of. That said, the mature thing to do would be to publicly apologise for pissing the kid off, even if you did nothing wrong, and just get on with it.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 6:02 PM on October 1, 2006

You might like to ask some of the people in your address book whether they've had any 'strange' emails from the hacked account in the last few days.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:10 PM on October 1, 2006

Are you close to him physically? Could you give him a beating?
posted by claudius at 6:32 PM on October 1, 2006 [4 favorites]

No-retaliation is best, for the reasons described above. You don't want this to escalate and eat up more of your time than it already has; trying to "teach a lesson to" the person you're dealing with is just wasting your precious energy. This goes triple if this jerk can get any of your real world identifying information.

(But if you really feel the need to retaliate, keep it very gentle. Eg, hack into his account on the relevant board, and post a couple of silly messages. Eg: "How can I contact Polla Abdul from Armeicon Idol I luv her" or something similarly harmless but likely to embarrass a little. Don't change the guy's password or anything, just leave it at that. And cut off all contact with him.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:49 PM on October 1, 2006

If your friend can hack back into your account, and you are prepared to take it to the next level, have your friend hack into his account and do the same thing. Then, when you get his address book, send a little note describing what a bum he is. Then never bring it up again.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:51 PM on October 1, 2006

And, needless to say, be sure all your accts have good, different passwords on them (6 or more characters, some letters, some non-letter characters, and not a dictionary word, not something significant from your life like your birthdate).
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:57 PM on October 1, 2006

Maybe I'm just being a pisser here, but how are you certain that this person is the one who changed your email account information? How would he/she have had access to the right information to do this?
posted by delfuego at 7:11 PM on October 1, 2006

script kiddie is not a term that refers to age but skillset and since you're obviously not using a secure password, you might want to go easy on the name calling.

that being said, look for inspiration here.
posted by krautland at 9:46 PM on October 1, 2006

that being said, look for inspiration here.

The end seriously makes me squirm and wonder if I've ever pissed off someone enough to have them do that.

posted by gregschoen at 1:33 AM on October 2, 2006

You should probably forget about it. I used to administer a MUD and had to deal with a certain percentage of poster children for post-partum abortion all the time. It used to really get me worked up until one of them explained why they do it: Infuriating me or anybody else was like taking over a tiny part of my brain. Learn a lesson from this:

1) Use better passwords
2) Don't ever fill in the security questions or if you're required because of the assinine software fill it with truly random information. If I really want to anybody can find out your birthdate, the street you were born on, your mom and dad's name etc.
posted by substrate at 5:56 AM on October 2, 2006

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