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The Shame and Humiliation of Being Hacked

Many victims of hacking are ashamed to come forward due to the limited resources available to them. Learn what to do if this happens to you.

One of the most gut-wrenching feelings in the digital age is when someone falls victim to a breach of their privacy. Being hacked can cause great stress and humiliation to those on the wrong side of the attack, leaving them feeling powerless and totally duped.

Sexual Violation
Perhaps the most intrusive type of hack attacks are the ones that expose naked images of men or women who sent these images to a loved for their eyes only. Recently, Jennifer Lawrence’s naked image was exposed and she commented on the hack, she felt sexually violated.

Read More: Where Do Most Phishing Attacks Occur and Why?

While celebrity stories get a lot of focus, regular people who were exposed are also affected, as was the case with the Ashley Madison hack. The data that was leaked from the adultery dating site led to the suicide of at least two people whose personal information was exposed.

Humiliation Reduces a Person’s Status
One of the psychological components of being humiliated is the fact that the victim feels powerless once a violation occurs. Humiliation is a feeling that is brought upon by others, which in this case, is brought about by the hacker knowing the personal content of your computer or phone. An experience associated with humiliation is the lowering of a person’s status in a traumatic manner.

A woman named Moran Mangan from Bryan, Texas told her local news station last November that she had been hacked. She was greatly distressed by the fact that her email received about 200 spam emails while she was at work Thursday, and her phone received a phone call every 10 to 15 seconds for the entire day.

The hacker managed to subscribe her to dozens of services and thousands of dollars were taken from her account to cover these costs. Mangan felt scared and vulnerable after what happened, prompting her to freeze her credit, add identity protection and change many of her passwords in a flurry.

Lack of Due Process
Many victims of hacks are deeply frustrated by the fact that there’s a lack of due process when it comes to low-scale attacks. Being hacked can trigger stress and anxiety for the victim, as well as a feeling of helplessness caused by the fact that they believe the hacker will get away with their crime, and this is often the case.

In the case of Moran Mangan, there isn’t much that her email provider can do about it. Often, a victim is left handling recovery on his or her own.

Resources to Get Your Dignity Back
Perhaps the worst element of the shame and humiliation brought about by being hacked is the fact that authorities are not terribly sympathetic. These are victims, yet authorities sometimes fail to tread carefully and consider the emotional pain that victims endure.

However, there are some steps you can make to remedy your situation as you can report the hacking to a local office of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Secret Service or the Internet Crime Complaint Center. You can also seek professional counseling to help process your emotions after going through an experience such as this one.