Happy Anniversary!

October 7, 2011

Viewser has been published for one year now. The celebration was a bit subdued on my anniversary day.

I was hacked.

I know this could, and does happen to everyone. Even to those in super secure installations. Today it was reported that the US military’s fleet of top secret drone aircraft has been compromised and currently fly directed by computers plagued by a virus of unknown origin or consequence. Goodness, if it can happen to them…

Anyway, somehow someone maliciously and criminally made their way into my hosting account, hijacked it, locked me out, destroyed my website and took over my domains. It has taken the better part of a week for me to recover my domains and reconstruct my work on this and other sites.

And not everything can be recovered.  All of the comments you placed on my later posts are gone.  All of the original links from the groups and sites I placed these later posts on are broken. And my various feeds are not working quite as well as they used to.

Not quite the sad news of Steve Jobs passing. Or the news news of Sarah Palin not running for president.

Or the monumental anniversary (today) of the 10th year of our participation in the war in Afghanistan – now America’s longest (and when you consider the cost of operations in Iraq) costliest war.

But an anniversary that is meaningful to me, just the same.

If you want to feel vulnerable (in a – not only has a years worth of my work been stolen, but someone is probably trying to do evil in my name, in ways I can’t even conceive of – kind of way) then get one of your online accounts stolen.

I am sure we have all, at one time or another, had our email used by crooks as bait.

Or maybe had our accounts hacked.

Or even thought about how hacking will evolve in the future.

But I wondered how it could happen… given a strong password and username, not disclosed to anyone?

Was it from a spoof site that I inadvertantly logged into from a Starbucks? Or was some jamoke sniffing the wireless network outside my house, at my library, at work or just about anywhere these days?

Was my hosting company attacked and compromised?

Fortunately I was able to recover my domains and rebuild my sites. But it really made me wonder, again… about security.

And you want me to want to store all of my financial, personal and medical data in the cloud? Accessible by using a username and a password?

Yikes.

By the way, make a list of your user names and passwords. I dare you.  Try to remember them all. Now change them. And do it again every few weeks as security experts recommended.  The process would make you, as it did me, a bit grumpy.

So when I went downtown yesterday, I didn’t bring my laptop.  And I didn’t log in anywhere. I was extra cautious. I was still grumpy and not very trusting.

Thank goodness I stumbled upon Puppet Bike. I was cheered up immensly by watching this mini-spectacle on Michigan Avenue.

Just as there is always street theater in San Francisco.

And music everywhere in New York.

It may be hard to find sometimes, but there is usually a way to to celebrate the joy and potential of humanity.

Happy Anniversary after all!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel India October 7, 2011

I am glad that you have renewed your site, though completely understanding about your cautiousness and reluctance regarding the public hacking sites and computer use, etc. That is a great reason to just drink coffee at the coffee shop, read the paper or use the Iphone instead.

Welcome back to the information highway!

viewser October 7, 2011

Thanks, Dan – It is good to be back!

Ben Garrett October 7, 2011

Sorry to hear about your virtual hijacking. My Twitter account was hacked a few weeks back and quite a few of my followers were startled by the result. I’ve learned to be very careful about clicking on any links sent to me. Ironically, the tainted link came from a friend’s account that had been hacked. Good advice in your blog everyone should follow!

viewser October 7, 2011

It is amazing – you are an experienced creator of media and consumer of media – and you were spoofed. No one is immune.

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