Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Help! My Hotmail / MSN / email has been hacked

There was a time when I was SURE someone was reading my emails. I was pretty certain that someone had found out my password and was reading my mail, but I wasn't certain. A search on Google to find out how I could see when my account was last logged into showed there was NO WAY TO GET THIS INFORMATION.

After a couple of days of mulling it over I realised I needed to act clever - there was no point in changing my password as that would only stop future snooping, it wouldn't let me know if it was still going on. That was when I realised that if I planted an email in my inbox, if I put a special code in it it could alert me as to WHEN THAT EMAIL was opened, and WHERE IN THE WORLD THE PERSON WAS who was reading it.

If you're really serious about finding out if someone's looking at your mail follow these steps (it's a little complicated and will take about half an hour to set the trap)

Step one:
Register a new free email account (with hotmail. But do it under a different name - if you're male I suggest you use a female name, and if you're female use a male name)

Step two:
Get a free counter from Statcounter here: using your NEW (fake) email to sign up. This is very important.

Step three:
When you're signed up with Statcounter, create a new 'project' and when it gives you the option, choose INVISIBLE COUNTER. choose the 'DEFAULT INSTALLATION GUIDE'. The special code you need will be emailed by them to your new 'fake' hotmail account.

Step four:
Log into your NEW email account, and open the message from Statcounter. COPY the code in the email (highlight and right click).

Step five:
Still in your new email account, make a new message, with your OLD email address as the recipient. Make the subject something like 'Great to see you again' or something along those lines. For the content you can put what you like - remember it's a trap you're setting! Now comes the important bit... Click on the box that says 'Rich Text', then switch to EDIT IN HTML.

PASTE the code from Statcounter into the bottom of the email. Make sure it's the very last thing in the email. Then switch back to 'Rich Text' mode and your secret code will become invisible! Now send the email (it's going to your old, real email address)

Step 6:
Log out of your new email, and log into your old email again. The message you just sent yourself will be there. Open it, then close it again. Now the trap has been set! DON'T look at it again!

Step 7:
Wait a week or so, then log into Statcounter. Click on your project. Your stats should only show that it's been viewed ONCE. If there are any other views you can investigate further using the little magnifying glass icons. You can even get a MAP of where the person was when they were looking. Have a dig around and see what you can discover!

I did the whole process in about 30 minutes - and no, no-one was looking at my emails after all! Let me know how you get on by leaving a comment.

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