I belong to a prestigious national women’s organization. You know the kind I mean – hard to get into, slightly snooty reputation. Well known. When I mentioned to a male coworker one day that I was a member, he got all “Well, la -dee -da! Excuuuuuuse me!” on me. Yes, he’s joking. Mostly.
I try not to lord it over him too much. Mostly.
Anyway, I try to help out with the ladies, and one of the things I helped out with, just last year, was to build a website for our local chapter. It was a big project and took a lot of time; lots of protocol and guidelines were involved, along with aesthetics and technical skills. Everyone was happy with the final site and I got a certificate for my scrapbook and moved on to other things.
Until just two weeks before I was scheduled to go in to arbitration. I got an email from one of the important ladies in Washington DC, letting me know that she was pretty sure our local website had been hacked.
I load the website.
It says HACKED across the main page.
She would seem to have a point.
I try to log in. No luck. My account not only won’t let me in, it seems to have been erased.
I’d like to think I can do this, but the truth is, I can’t. I can do a few technical things but mostly I need a lot of help. The Departed – being an IT guy – used to take care of our computer stuff, and my computer stuff, at least, mostly worked, although The Child’s computer was never functional for longer than a few days at a time for the several years she owned it.
I call Dad. There’s a small miracle and he answers, and goes off to see what’s happened.
While I wait for a return phone call, I mull. Over the past month, I’ve had an old yahoo email account hacked – and also an old, old hotmail account. Both of them – just in the last month. I had read the article about the Wired reporter’s epic hack, and thought to myself, jeez, I should really get more serious about passwords – but it’s just two old email accounts that I haven’t used in years. I closed both accounts when it happened and moved onto other things.
Like, you know, getting quotes for pest control services.
I’ve got time to kill, so I start updating passwords, adding verification layers, and so on. Revoking access. Doing … stuff.
And the thought that keeps nagging at me is: I’ve had a lot of this all at once.
My father calls me back. He’s all calm and reminds me that when I accidentally broke the site earlier in the year, we fixed it quickly and then said, Hey, people say backing up files is a good idea, let’s try it!
It is a seriously good idea. I love it when we have good ideas. He’s got the whole site on a CD.
I’ll restore it tomorrow, he says. It’s late and I don’t want to do anything dumb since I’m tired. I also want to check the back end. It could just be random, but it seems a bit of an odd target. And it looks … amateurish.
You don’t think?
Yes, he says. That’s exactly what I think. But this sort of thing usually leaves a trail.
I’ll find out.