In the wake of one of the most entertaining political circus acts, of the plenty we have been exposed to this past year, involving Anthony Weiner and the tweet pic of his weiner under the cloak of his underwear, there are at least three lessons we all can learn. One of those lessons I learned the hard way last night — no pun intended. Try to keep you mind out of the gutter… I know it’s hard (hee-hee-hee).

Lesson 1: Change your passwords often and keep them private.

At 12:39 AM last night my personal email was hacked by a computer or server in China. After gaining access to my email account the perpetrators prompted my email to send a mass message to my entire contact list, which not only includes my friends, clients, and acquaintances, but just about any person I have ever emailed. I use Gmail, and that means every time I send an email, if there is a new email address included, Gmail saves the information in a “Other Contacts” folder. It comes in handy if I send an email and forget to save the contact info for later.

The perpetrators, for one reason or another were only able to send to part of my list, but in any case, the damage was done. A significant portion of my contact list received a spam email promoted by me. Some realized it was spam, and some cussed me out thinking I was trying to sell them on something (no really… that happened).

So, although Anthony Weiner’s twitter account was not really hacked, my email was. It can happen. In fact, this is not the first time I have had an email account hacked. Even more so, I have had my own web hosting accounts hacked, my client’s accounts have been hacked, and I’ve acted as a consultant to a company when their e-commerce websites and servers were hacked. It can happen.

The lesson I learned last night was just because I may be internet savvy, it does not mean I am immune from an occasional hack attempt. I must do my best to prevent successful attacks by consistently changing and updating my security questions. I type my passwords on my browser, my phone, my friends’ computers, and who knows where else. I may erase browser histories and insist that the computer does not save my passwords, but you never really know. My password could have been read by a virus on the computer or the perpetrators could have used a sophisticated script to extract it. Either way, changing my passwords often, and updating my security questions is the best way I can defend myself. Lesson learned.

Lesson 2: Nothing is secure on the internet.

You must deduce that if your email, Facebook, or twitter is vulnerable to attack anything within those accounts are just as vulnerable as well. I don’t have any embarrassing photos (cause I just don’t see the point of torturing anybody with them… including myself), but if I did, it would not be in my best interest to keep them in my email account.

Facebook users, especially, are notorious for believing that whatever photos they keep in their accounts can be set as private and so no one else but who they allocate may see those photos. In theory it may be true, but in reality anyone with access to your private photos may unintentionally give access to someone else. Furthermore, if you message the photo to their Facebook account or email, the photo is vulnerable to any hacking attempts on their own accounts.

Messages and photos can be easily passed-on on the internet, whether by accident or on purpose. The only way to guarantee that your message or photos will remain private is to never keep them on anything that has internet access. The Internet is no longer as secure as we once thought it was and you can’t force it to be.

Lesson 3: If you make a mistake, and get caught, just admit to it.

Anthony Weiner is a testament to this lesson. According to his statement earlier today, Weiner was “embarrassed” by the photo and his actions to tweet the picture to one of his followers. The major mistake, in my opinion, was taking a photo of himself and sending it to anyone (other than his wife), but what added insult to injury was the fact he lied about it for almost 10 days. He lead a media circus by actively denying sending the pic, and creating further suspicion by not denying if the photo was of him.

I guess you could argue that the lesson should be that if your going to deny an immoral action, deny with all your heart. I’m sure that there are many guys and girls who get away with such lies everyday. My suggestion however is if you get caught, just admit it. Well, you probably shouldn’t engage in the immoral acts either, but to each their own. All I’m just saying is it is better and easier to admit it and begin the healing process early. In my opinion, Weiner’s weiner news would have been old news by now if he had just admitted his transgressions and simply moved on. It just wouldn’t have turned out to be this crazy.

In the end, we thank you Congressman Weiner. You reminded us that know one is immune from scandal and controversy. You’ve also taught us that what we do and say on the Internet is all too often open for the world to see whether we like it or not.