A Comox Valley man is warning others about the dangers of being hacked online and recently created a video to prevent it from happening to others.
Julian White, a commercial airline pilot who runs a YouTube vlog called The Jet Lag Log, had his online portfolio hacked less than two weeks ago including email, online accounts/apps such as Starbucks, Costco, Ebay and Facebook.
White took a very proactive step when he found out the attack happened, which he describes in his video, but noted he has lost days of sleep, time with his family and spent hours online trying to stop and block those who hacked his accounts.
“It’s so unfortunate and very alarming. Fortunately, it happened when I was home; if I was in the air when it happened it could have been disastrous.”
White initially discovered the hack when he tried to log into his email account and found himself blocked. When he attempted to change the password, he quickly discovered the hackers were a few steps ahead of him.
He then found out his voicemail on his cell phone was compromised along with various online accounts that contained his credit card information. Based on information he able to gather virtually and by tracking the IP address, he determined the hackers were based in Quebec.
“I was targeted because I had some weaknesses in my electronic portfolio. They (hackers) were trying to find weaknesses. Because I’m a pilot and (create content) on my YouTube channel, I consider myself pretty up to date on technology, but I can’t imagine this happening to someone vulnerable or not as well versed on technology.”
While he did discover a charge on his credit card as a result of the attack, the purchase was considered fraud and he was able to cancel his card and was not held liable for the charge.
White contacted the RCMP and is working with them and also reached out to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, but said the latter was more interested in data collection rather than assistance.
“You feel very alone – there isn’t actually that much I can do or find, which is one of the reasons I created the video is to put more content out there – especially Canadian content.”
According to the centre, as of Jan. 31, 2020, there have been 3,493 reports of fraud (in 2019, there were 46,317), with more than $4.2 million lost so far this year. The centre collects information on fraud and identity theft and encourages all Canadians who believe they may have been a victim to report it either online through their Fraud Reporting System or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.
White said since the attack, he has enhanced his security across various online platforms to the highest level and offers other tips in his video for those to proactively take for online activity.
“We live in such a virtual world; (these days) how do you prove you are who you are?”
To view White’s experience and his tips on preventing an attack, view his video here.