A few weeks ago, I was just starting to think about getting out of bed in the morning when the notifications on my Facebook started to go off like crazy. Ding, ding, ding. What the?
I blindly felt around my nightstand for my phone, peeled open one eye and checked my messages. There were more than a dozen all to the effect of:
Did you just send me horse porn?
This should be an alarm setting because the only thing that has woken me up faster is the phrase, “Mommy, I just threw up.”
Darn you, hackers.
I’m scrambling around in my pajamas, trying to get my laptop booted up so I can stop the flood of pornography being sent to everyone on my friends list. My phone buzzed so much with the ongoing notifications that it fell off the desk on to the floor. Every vibration was like an electric shock to my carefully constructed persona as a non-tawdry sex toy lady. In a word, I was mortified.
Finally, I got logged into Facebook, changed my password and the outgoing naughty messages stopped. The incoming replies did not.
WTF I think U been hacked
I wanted to die.
First: Facebook hacks and how to avoid them
The source of the hack was obvious. A week previous to The Great Horse Porn Hack ™, a friend had been a victim of the same hack. I received the obscene image in question while on my phone and I (stupidly) wasn’t sure what I was seeing and clicked on the link. This resulted in two things. One, I was treated to an enlarged (moving) picture of the bestiality in question; and two, my Facebook login was sent off into the mysterious darkness into the hands of some Bad People.
So, the moral of the story, if you get a weird picture or link in you messenger: DON’T CLICK IT. If you do click it (because let’s face it, the hackers are banking on the irresistible nature of clicking), change your password RIGHT AWAY. You would have thought I would have remembered this lesson from the dark ages of email viruses and spam, but I was so used to just avoiding suspect downloads, that the danger of a single click was forgotten.
Second: Damage control when you have been hacked
Obviously to protect your account and computer, you want to change your password(s) and have a malware / virus program give your computer a good once over. If you are a business owner, however, especially one in a field that might be confused with pornography, you need to make sure you address your customers about what happened. The friend who was hacked before me just put up an explanation post on her Facebook wall.
Me, I felt like I had to do more. I felt like I couldn’t guarantee all those people would see a Facebook wall post, so I decided to go to the trouble to message back every single person who had been hacked, apologize for burning their eyeballs and warn them to reset their password if they clicked on the image.
And I did. I sent 200+ messages saying I was sorry.
Payoff: Lemons into Lemonade
Then, I noticed something. I was getting an unusual number of responses. I’ll confess to randomly messaging people about parties and sales sometimes (I’m against this, but sometimes my desperation gets the better of me) and I have maybe a 10 – 15% response rate. A good 30% of my apology messages were met with replies of “That’s okay” and “I understand”.
I hesitated for a few minutes and then thought, Well, I have their attention. Might as well use it. I replied with a second apology but this time with an offer of an order discount and booking incentive.
Result? 3 new bookings and 1 sale.
Moral of story: Don’t click on stuff.
No wait, actually it’s: When you click on stuff and get hacked, make sure to take time to touch base with your customers and offer both an apology and an incentive to keep doing business with you. The personal touch is never wasted, especially when it comes to damage control.