Digital Afterlife Alert: Beware of Ghost Hackers Impersonating Deceased Loved Ones Online

Digital Afterlife Alert: Beware of Ghost Hackers Impersonating Deceased Loved Ones Online

Guard Against Ghost Hackers: Protecting Your Digital Legacy

Imagine the shock of receiving a message from your deceased spouse, seemingly alive and well in the digital realm, offering investment opportunities and mundane greetings. It's a sickening new scam, where "ghost hackers" hijack the accounts of the deceased, preying on grieving families distracted by loss.

These hackers, scouring obituaries and death notices, exploit weak passwords, guess security questions, and use leaked credentials to access accounts. Their aim? To pilfer from banking and retirement funds left vulnerable in the wake of death.

But there are defenses. Amidst the myriad tasks following a loved one's passing, safeguarding their digital footprint is crucial. From canceling subscriptions to executing wills, now we add the task of memorializing or deleting social media accounts.

Social networks like Facebook and Instagram offer processes for this. You can request account memorialization or removal, ensuring your loved one's digital presence is respectfully managed.

Moreover, take proactive steps to protect your own digital legacy. Platforms like Facebook allow you to designate a legacy contact, who can manage your account in the event of your passing. Apple's Legacy Contact feature provides a secure way to grant posthumous access to your data.

Don't fall victim to ghost hackers. Arm yourself with knowledge and take steps to secure both your own and your loved ones' digital legacies against exploitation.

Securing Your Digital Legacy: Step-by-Step Guide

Setting up a digital legacy plan is essential in today's digital age. Here's how to ensure your digital assets are managed responsibly after you're gone.

Open Settings and tap your name.Navigate to Sign-In & Security > Legacy Contact.Tap Add Legacy Contact, using Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode to authenticate.Choose a group member if in a Family Sharing group, or tap Choose Someone Else to add a contact from your list.Select the person from your contacts and tap Continue.Decide how to share your access key: print or send digitally.If sending digitally, Apple will create a message to notify your contact. Tap Send.Next, adjust your Google account:

Access your Google Activity controls and log in.Under Web & App Activity, ensure Auto-delete is turned on.Choose your preferred timeframe for auto-deletion: three months, 18 months, or 36 months.But don't stop there. Consider creating a digital estate plan:

Compile a list of all your accounts, passwords, and online assets with instructions on how to access them.This can be as formal or informal as you like, from an Excel spreadsheet to a password manager.Password-protect the file and include the password in your will, or use a password manager with a designated contact.Consider using a password notebook if you prefer pen and paper.Here's a checklist to help you get started:

Email, social media, financial, and cloud storage accounts.Online shopping credentials.Streaming services and recurring charges.Loyalty programs and travel rewards.Domain names and website hosting.While it may be uncomfortable to think about, taking these steps will immensely help your loved ones during a difficult time.

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