Earlier this week, I received a lovely message of encouragement via the official Weekly Curmudgeon mailbox. Now, your Curmudgeon doesn’t typically get a lot of reader communiqués (something I’ve been meaning to take up with you all for some time now), so this was rather a special occasion. Naturally, being a gentleman, I was inclined to respond.
But that’s when I discovered I could no longer access my Weekly Curmudgeon e-mail. I’d been hacked. Indeed, I’d been hacked so effectively that I was unable to recover the account; this talented troublemaker had changed not only my password, but my recovery email and the answers to my security questions as well. I must say, I was impressed. I almost feel badly about his inevitable disappointment when he discovers no one ever writes to me.
All of this got me to puzzling over the whole notion of recreational privacy violation.
I can grasp why a criminal might want to infiltrate the important secret files of a bank, credit card company, or political organization. Those efforts, dishonorable though they be, at least offer potential payoffs. But gaining access to the private mailbox of a blog with a whopping one hundred and four subscribers who almost never correspond seems a bit of a waste of time.
Illogical acts make my brain hurt, especially when there’s considerable effort involved in accomplishing said acts. So the thought of someone going to the trouble of hacking into an email account that houses no proprietary information . . . well it just makes me want to lie down with an ice pack on my head. I’m a relatively smart fellow, but I cannot for the life of me fathom what the value could be to these people. I’m told they just want to show us that they can succeed at it. Well, that they’ve done, again and again, so much so that this ability is no longer particularly exceptional. And it becomes an even less impressive feat when the owner of the account they’re hacking hasn’t even bothered to encrypt or otherwise protect the content. The Weekly Curmudgeon mailbox is hardly Fort Knox, so unfortunately for my hacker, breaking into it is really not all that much of an achievement.
I find myself feeling sad for this poor soul. What kind of life must he have if he finds hacking my little email account a worthwhile endeavor? I imagine he must be unbearably bored and desperately starved for even the merest flicker of attention. Now that I consider it, I suppose I should feel somewhat gratified that my empty email box provided him at least a brief moment of empty excitement in his dull, sad little life.
But hacker, if you’re reading this (I assume he’s a fan, since he wanted to access my email), I feel honor-bound to introduce you to one or two alternative options. Did you know that there are hobbies that are—yes, it’s true—even more fulfilling than hackery? Reading books, seeing theatre, playing sports, volunteering, watching animal videos, joining clubs, knitting tea cozies, racing turtles, taking classes in ancient Aztec cuisine—each of these pastimes is far less futile than your current one, breaking into empty virtual mailboxes and locking out the owners. You should try them. You might even make some friends. If nothing else, they might give you a break from the oppressive atmosphere of your mother’s basement.
Now, readers, if any of you are concerned that this hacking might mean the end of our voluminous, prolific, long-standing, in-depth, soul-filling correspondence, be ye not afraid. I have created a new account and linked it to this blog, so the mail can continue to flow.
. . . I won’t hold my breath.