OMG, it looked like one of my worst nightmares was eventuating before my eyes and I was unwittingly at the centre of a technical maelstrom.

How many times had I witnessed other people getting hacked and thought I really should research preventative and recovery techniques, lest it ever happen to me? I wish I had acted on this.

I was on my way out the door to soccer practice, carrying an armload of shin pads and water bottles downstairs when, from somewhere in among this jumble, came the sound of my phone going crazy.

The Chat Heads app was working in over-drive; people's heads were popping up on my phone at a rapid rate. I opened one of the messages and recognised it as one I had been sent the night before from a friend who had been hacked.


It said: "Its you? Jodi :O", along with an attachment with a play arrow that implied a video was attached. Although the lack of grammar indicated spam, my curiosity got the better of me. What if there actually was a shocking (as the shock face symbol suggested) video clip of me?

But an attempt to open it was fruitless and I then realised there would be no video footage of me out there. My heyday antics were long before YouTube, thank goodness!

"Sorry guys, we're gonna have to be late. I've got a crisis to deal with," I told the kids, hovering around me on the stairwell. I went back up to my computer and did a Google search on what to do when hacked.

First up was to stay calm. Timely advice, for I was not calm. Not only was my phone still carrying out a symphony of 'pings' from constant chat heads popping up, I was now receiving texts and email notifications from people posting on my timeline. Then my phone began to ring.

Added to that was the nagging of a soccer-mad and punctual Master Nine who had no time for Mum's dilemma.

The second step was to change passwords. This, in itself, is no easy feat when you are panicking. I changed the main Facebook one and then decided to get the kids to soccer, where I could sit in the car for an hour and work on 'Operation Salvage'.

I was doing this when, through all the message replies (yes, the hacker had messaged everyone in my contacts, including people I didn't realise were even in my contacts!), came the advice from an IT guy I used to work with. He pretty much talked me through what to do: reset passwords, clear out associated apps and reset two-way authentication.

Later that night, things started to calm down, although replies were still coming through in drifts and drabs until the following lunchtime (the English rellies waking up to my strange message).


By then I was able to read through some of the replies. They ranged from telling me or asking if I'd been hacked to asking why the video wouldn't load, with cheeky younger cousins laughing that I'd been hacked. There were also the "Hello stranger, how are you?" conversation starters, to those replying to the "it's you?" message with "Yes, it is me".

Then there were those posting, "OMG, I tried to open it — will this stuff up my phone. What do I do?!"

And that was how I found myself thrust into the role of IT guru (IT is a subject that hurts my head at the best of times) and even being approached on the street the following day by someone I had never spoken to in real life.