Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

We'll look at some ways that someone else could access your account.

It appears that someone has figured out the password to my Myspace account and has logged in and sent e-mails from the account as well. I have two questions: First is there any possible way to track down the person who is doing this (mind you they did not change my password)? Is it really that easy to obtain someone's password on a site like this? I do not use a public computer and change my password regularly.

There are a couple of things going on here. Yes, it's possible that you got hacked, but it's also possible that you didn't.

It's quite possible that you didn't get hacked. It's quite possible that someone is impersonating you in one way or another - this is a common practice with email borne viruses and spam that could possibly apply to other mail systems as well. (See my article Someone's sending from my email address! How do I stop them?! for more information on that scenario.)

The good news is that, no, it's not that easy to get someone's password from such a site. Possible, perhaps, but typically very, very difficult.

"Yes, it's possible that you got hacked, but it's also possible that you didn't."

More commonly, these kinds of exploits are the result of poor password selection, so that someone can easily guess your password, or by trusting someone you shouldn't have with your password. And, as you already indicated, public computers are also a possibility. For that matter, any computer you use that someone else has access to could be a security risk if you allow it to save your passwords for you.

Unfortunately once it happens, it's nearly impossible for us "mere mortals" to track down the culprit. It really depends on how the service, such as Myspace, operates. It's possible that they could track it down, but by that I mean only that the technology might support it. Whether or not the service keeps that information or even uses it is unknown. Even if they do, they are probably not very willing to simply hand it out for claims like this. More often than not, privacy concerns might require that laws have been broken, law enforcement get involved, and perhaps even a court order be required to get the information from the service.

My advice is to get in touch with the service's support contact and see if and how they might be able to help. My expectations, however, would be that they won't be able, or perhaps willing, to do much.

Article C2426 - September 25, 2005 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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6 Comments
1ncite
September 29, 2005 12:35 PM

Most websites will offer you a technical support address that you can send these types of queries too.

I'd suggest changing your password. Try using a combination of upper/lower case characters, numbers and symbols. for example:
instead of "password"
use
"Pa55w0rd"

MySpace is a fairly secure site so though its not likely that it was hacked i'd change your password just in case.

maz
December 10, 2005 8:32 AM

hi, i asked you is it possible to hack my old runescape account back an u didnt reply. anyway how long does it take to be able to read and program python??????

Leo
December 10, 2005 8:40 AM

I can't answer every question - that's one reason these comments exist so others can help as well.
http://ask-leo.com/why_didnt_you_answer_my_question.html

I don't know anything about runescape. Learning python depends on your experience in computer programming. Could take an hour, could take weeks or months. There's no way for me to know.

very angrey
March 15, 2006 2:00 PM

ok look on myspace i just made up a e-mail address cause everyone new mine. so when i click the forgot my password it wont send it to me! well someone figured it out and they changed my pass word. so now i can't get in myspace. how do i find out my password?

Leo
March 16, 2006 2:20 PM

I suggest you read this article: http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_hack_into_someones_account.html

Leo
May 1, 2006 9:43 AM

I am not able to retrieve passwords. Period.

Sorry.

(I'm closing comments on this article becaus people insist on repeatedly asking that which I clearly state I cannot do.)

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