Beware of the new ‘ghost hackers’ | Trending Viral hub

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Imagine if this happened to you. Your spouse passed away and a few weeks after the funeral, you get a message from them saying, “Hi, I hope you’re having a great day.” Other friends report receiving similar messages from their spouse. Some messages offer great returns on cryptocurrency investments.

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“Phantom hackers” have taken over your spouse’s account. He is a sick new scam. With account owners dead and families focused on grieving, the hack is more likely to go unnoticed. It’s horrible and I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to you or someone you love.

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It’s not just about trolling and ‘investments’
Ghost hackers monitor obituaries and death notices for potential targets. Then, they use their arsenal—hacking weak passwords, guessing security questions, and accessing previously leaked credentials—to get in. Hackers often jump into bank and retirement accounts, making it easy to steal directly from the person who passed through.

The best attack is a good defense

I know firsthand that there are a lot of administrative tasks to handle when a close family member dies, from canceling cell phone plans to executing a will. This list should now also include the commemoration or removal of your social media accounts.

Woman carries an umbrella while at the cemetery on Memorial Day

Luckily, social networks have processes for this. For Facebookask Facebook to commemorate the account. You will need a link to an obituary. You can also request the profile be deleted. instagram has similar steps to Facebook, and the the same goes for x.

Now, take the time to protect yourself.

On Facebook, you can designate a legacy contact to Manage your account if you die. They won’t be able to log in, read your messages, or delete friends.

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  • On mobile, select the three lines icon In the bottom right. Scroll and tap Settings and privacy > Settings. Under “Account Center,” tap Personal details > Personal details > Account ownership and control > Memorialization.
  • Click your name to select your legacy contact (and notify your contact that you now have that role). You can also decide if you prefer to have your account deleted after you approve.

Legacy Apple Contact It’s a secure way to give someone access to the data stored in your Apple account after you die. You can add more than one legacy contact and everyone will be able to access the account to make decisions. The person must be 13 years old or older.

Here we explain how to configure it on your iPhone:

  • Open Settings and touch your name.
  • Gonna Login and security > Legacy Contact.
  • Tap Add legacy contact. You may need to use Face ID, Touch ID, or your password to authenticate.
  • You can choose a group member if you are in a Family Sharing group. Or you can touch Choose someone else to add someone from your contacts.
  • Select the person from your Contacts. Tap Continue.
  • You will be asked how you want to share your access key. Select Print password either Send access key.
  • If you choose to send the key digitally, Apple will create a message to let your contact know that you’ve added them as your legacy contact. Tap Send.
Sad woman sitting on a sofa

Finally, adjust your google account. You probably have some things you’d prefer to keep private in your search, viewing, and location history. By default, Google automatically deletes account records after 18 months. If you want to shorten that window, you can do so in a few steps.

  • Go to your Google Activity controls and sign in with your Google account.
  • Low Web and app activityyou will see Delete automatically. Make sure this is turned In.
  • Click the arrow to choose your preferred period: 3 months, 18 months either 36 months.

You Really Need a Digital Estate Plan

It is not a legal document but rather a summary of all your accounts and passwords. and online assets with instructions on how to find them. My mom made one before she passed away and I can’t tell you how much time and stress it saved me during an incredibly emotional time.

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Your list can be as formal or informal as you like. It could be an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document that includes websites, login data, and anything else you want to leave behind. If you go this route, password protect the file and leave the password in your will.

If you are comfortable with this, I recommend doing this in a password manager. Most have the option to set up a contact who can access your logins when you pass by. Use a password notebook if you feel more comfortable with pencil and paper.

Here’s a checklist to get you started:

  • Email, social media, financial and cloud storage accounts.
  • Online shopping credentials.
  • Streaming services and other recurring charges.
  • Loyalty programs, including travel rewards.
  • Domain names and website hosting.

I know it’s not fun to think about, but you will help your loved ones immensely if you do.

Two people sitting in a cemetery.

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