TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Mayor Bob Buckhorn has control of his Twitter account again. But Thursday, his feed was filled with pornographic images and racist rants.
It was the work of a hacker and it took hours to pull the posts. Rick Dean, a cyber crimes investigator with the Secret Service bureau in Tampa, said during a visit on Good Day Tampa Bay there are things we do everyday that put us at risk. Once a hacker gets in, it's hard to get them out.
Ninety-percent of people are hacked by what he calls "spearfishing." A phishing email catches someones eye, they click on it and the damage is done.
"The first thing you need to do is change your password," Dean said. But he shared a tip we rarely hear -- the password needs to be changed on a different device or the hackers will be able to detect the change as well.
Spearfishing hackers track every stroke of a keyboard. Once a device is corrupted, it's corrupted, he said. New passwords are the best first step. The problem is many don't know their user names or passwords, and smart phones make it worse. Most people pull up an app, bypass the log in step and can't remember in the case of emergency.
Sadly, most perpetrators are rarely caught. They keep an anonymous track. Many come from international hackers, he said, making it even harder.
The best defense is separate passwords, easily stored but not obvious- like your notes and immediate action once you realize it's happened. Hackers have free reign once they get in. It's up to the users to be wary of any email and protect themselves.