Thursday, July 15, 2010
Oh my goodness. Hello. I have had an interesting week.
Hackers infiltrated my virtual life Tuesday around 3am. They broke into my email account and sent that awkwardly worded message to everyone in my address book. Gmail is fairly adept at saving addresses so the message went to, I imagine, everyone I have ever messaged about anything. Customer service lines, craigslist ads I have responded to, the Research Club blog (where one may post by email), prospective bosses at jobs I never got, the law office I used to work at. The thieves had also changed my "reply to" and forwarding settings, so in the end I had to set up a temporary other email address with a different provider to get the mess figured out.
At this point I have convinced my Google account that I am me, but the jury is still out on facebook.
VARIOUS INTERESTING POINTS ABOUT THIS
1. I am quite upset about my possible facebook deletion though I'm not really sure why. Why does it bother me? I can just start again. Most of my "friends" really are my friends, they will not be difficult to find.
2. My other online places (bank, pictures, website) were all untouched as far as I can tell. There was no virus attached to the message, it was just a pathetic attempt to get funds...somehow. The email didn't really specify how people should go about doing that.
3. I was able to find this out quickly for two reasons:
3a. I have Proffessor Chimpy's email account at hand to make sure nothing important happens while he is away at the hippie fair. So I was able to read the plea and examine it for the syntactic eye sore that it is, and note (at least from where I'm sitting) that there was nothing attached. (If there was, comment and let me know so certain daft relations can be warned.)
3b. Because my "smart" phone had a bunch of errors that told me that my Google account had a password problem. It did indeed have a password problem. The problem was the password had been reset by someone who WAS NOT ME.
4. I can't decide what makes me more frustrated: the people who have called to let me know that my email has "probably been hacked", or the people who have called to ask worriedly why I'm in London and if I'm doing okay. I have thanked the former, because I really do appreciate the concern, but I am vaguely insulted that people fell for it. Honestly. If I were in a foreign country and had something bad happen to me, I would deal with it and the carry on. You know. Like I did in Vancouver when my car window was smashed in and everything was stolen. It sucked, and I needed money, but I did not "with tears in my eyes" email my entire address book with three exclamation points. I did what any sane person would do and called the police. Also my mommy.
4a. I has been hell trying to reassure people of this, because most of the people I connect with online are done so primarily via facebook, email or my blog. Now that I am back on the Google side of things I cannot mass email even if I wanted to, as all of my contacts are gone. And when you have a smart phone that talks to your email account, apparently, that means all your phone numbers are gone too. Awesome.
5. Is it weird to feel violated? I think it might be yet I can't stop feeling that way. Technically all the hackers did was create a lot of chaos for me and some confusion for people I know. I had my "identity" stolen in the bank account sense of the phrase, years ago, but I've never had my "identity" as far as my virtual self compromised. It's much more complicated in a certain sense. There is no 1-800 number to call and cancel my existing identity, no sympathetic CSR to assure me that this happens a lot, and that are procedures to fix it. I won't be sent a replacement identity in 5-7 business days. I have to go myself and frantically change all the passwords to all the places I CAN access. I have to think hard about the places I might have missed. And that takes time, and must be done after work, but it's not a crisis. Even though I believe firmly that potential illustration clients are swayed by competent web presence, most web-savvy people understand that pleas to have money wired overseas have BOGUS written all over them and will be written off as "bummer she got hacked" rather than "that person is not trust worthy". So I'm not sure what I'm so upset about. Is it that a lot of my drawing time has been commandeered by having to do a lot of dreary INTERNET stuff? Or is it the sad fact that after being able to carry the internet around with my in my pocket I had to abstain from a few select virtual areas for ALMOST ONE WHOLE DAY? Sheesh. I think it's time to take my shoes off and stand in some mud, or feel the difference between redwood bark and douglas fir bark. Something. Something else. Something unrelated to this silly cyber world.
Maggie, the REAL kumquat.