The pinging was caused hundreds of "confirmation" or "unable to deliver" emails landing in my inbox. That could only mean one thing - someone had sent out 100s of emails to people in our address book. Yes, the Tonbridge & Malling email account had been compromised, and over 2.000 people (including 20% of the Parliamentary Party) had been sent a spam email with a virus. Red face time.
My immediate thought was to send another email warning people not to click on the link - but whoever had accessed our account had deleted our entire contacts list! By this time people were kindly phoning me to warn me. They phoned my Blackberry, my landline and they even phoned Jon Botten's mobile and left messages at the office. They Tweeted, sent messages via Facebook - someone even phoned Sir John Stanley! Interestingly, people who replied to ask "is this genuine?" received a response from the hacker assuring them it was all OK. One councillor emailed to say, "I knew it wasn't you, the email was far too polite."
All's well that ends well. We regained control of the account within 15 minutes and managed to restore the contacts list, so hopefully no harm done.
Which is not what could be said about a poor councillor whose email account was similarly hacked a few years ago.
This particular young councillor (who is openly gay) sent an email to the entire Conservative Association and to about 200 of his ward residents entitled;
"CONTACT ME FOR THE BEST SEX YOU'VE EVER HAD"
Allegedly half of the recipients were outraged, the other half are seeking a refund!