On Wednesday I wrote this:
“We may seem to be alone or in solitude, yet we are always connected to others, even those out of our personal awareness.”
On Friday morning I woke up to my alarm. Within minutes I had the first of many texts of the day.
Friday and on into Saturday became an opportunity to live my words written on Wednesday. Or eat them. Or something. It was not a way I would have planned. In fact it was one of those huge snarled-up-snarly-things full of snarls.
I got cyber-hacked.
That first six-a.m. text was a friend telling me that a strange message had come through on email saying I was in another country and had been mugged and was in need of money.
Next came emails from friends, more texts first from my brother, then others. Phone calls from my aunt who had heard from other distant relatives. Later I heard from my mom and my mother-in law. Then a friend in Texas and another in Kentucky left me voice mails. My husband’s sister called, then friends I haven’t talked to in two or three years. People were checking with each other, calling my family. Leaving me voice mail. I was not able to take all the calls. . . .
Because I was trying to recover my email accounts, change the passwords, add more security measures. I learned that this intruder had even been chatting up friends on facebook. Geeeeze. S/he had opened two fake email accounts that looked very much like my two main email accounts (but not my work account, thankfully). This hacker also wiped out my contacts.
Ironically despite my missing contacts, people got in touch with me who had not been in touch before. Some wanted to be reassured that the story was bogus. Others just wanted to hear my voice or know that I was okay. Still others said they just wanted me to know I’d been hacked. Since I’ve been writing this I’ve heard from yet another friend. Over these two days my husband has fielded lots of phone calls, texts, emails and chats on his accounts as well.
They don’t call it social networking for nothing.
It drained a lot of my time yesterday to change passwords, turn off the forwarding to fake emails, reply to all the email and fb messages. But it had to be done and it didn’t change other things that had to be done in the day, either. So life did go right on through the day and into the next.
It seems like I should be angry about all this. And I did honestly feel kind of embarrassed about it. Then I thought, that’s what being victimized can do! Here I am feeling guilty for being the target of a crime. That’s one reason crime works as well as it does. It stays hidden out of guilt or shame on the part of the person acted against. But there was no hiding this one. If you’ve ever gotten an email from me in the last 10 years you probably got this hacker’s bogus message (or hopefully it went into your spam file).
Despite feeling like I was in cyber-hell for a couple of hours, the hacker didn’t actually ‘hack me off’ very much. Now if I find out someone was lured into sending money to Nigeria (or wherever this hacker has an account set up) I might have to revise this post.
This morning on the phone with yet another church member I was explaining, “Well, I didn’t really have the situation that people warn you against. I wasn’t using the same password with multiple accounts. It was that I had one account forwarded to another and . . .” He stopped me, “Yes, we’re all connected to each other.”
Exactly. We are all connected.
I said it on Wednesday. But I lived it in a surprising and strange way on Friday.
The strangeness was that it happened at all. And how quickly a small violation can rally a community to start checking in with each other. The surprise was in the ripple effect of grace. We are all connected. And much of that connection is grace itself. So any time I find myself in the illusion that I am alone or isolated, I have yet another story that says otherwise. Strange grace indeed.