How’s this for coincidence? While we were watching ‘Yes, Minister’ last night, featuring Minister for Administrative Affairs Jim Hacker, our email address was being quietly hacked. It’s always annoying when that happens, but this was particularly so because of the way it occurred. Having received a suspicious-looking email from a friend I checked with that friend on Facebook that they had actually sent it. They said they had, so I opened it. It didn’t seem to work, but then they sent another one the same day and when I opened that one, all hell opened with it. Within seconds my inbox filled up with ‘failure’ messages. WTF? Mark immediately saw and said: ‘Close the account: it’s been hacked and it’s sending out spam.’
I felt horrible. It’s an awful feeling to think that not only has your private space been invaded but that some toerag somewhere is using your profile to send viruses or spam or malware or who knows what, to all your friends and contacts. I felt like the carrier of some horrible disease. Not only that, but I had to open a new account, import all my contacts, email them all to tell them about the new address, and then set about changing that address on all the sites where I use it: bank, gas and electricity, phone and internet, library, HMRC and probably a dozen others I haven’t even thought of yet and almost certainly won’t until it’s too late.
However, there is an up-side to this. Mark and I previously had the same account and it often bugged me that he never seemed to read emails, just leaving them to clutter up the inbox. If you have loads of unread emails the chances of missing something are greater; so now we have our own accounts and he can miss his own emails. Also, it’s allowed me to shed the numerous unwanted updates from every site I’ve bought something from or just visited and forgotten to uncheck the box saying ‘we will send you updates on our products and services.’ So that’s all good: and now that I’ve got to grips with the logistics, it’s starting to feel more like a fresh start than a nuisance.
Of course Mark maintains that the account hasn’t been hacked but ‘cracked’. Apparently that is the correct term, don’t ask me why. And he went on to say that a previous account of his had had the same problem. He called it something like a ‘flashbang account’ or a ‘whizbang’ – hang on, I’ll look it up. Yes, here it is ‘a bang-path type email.’
Now, do you have any idea what a bang-path type email is? No Googling, now… Well, nobody on Facebook knew, and he got quite sniffy about it, saying people should know these things because they use computers. I pointed out that this was a bit like saying we should all be motor mechanics because we drive cars. ‘That’s not the same thing at all!’ he huffed.
Anyway, if you want my new email address and you haven’t received a message from me, let me know.