Ignorance is not bliss

Someone hacked my blog yesterday. My little nothinginmoderation blog. Should I be flattered that I’m hackworthy? As important to take down as the CIBC bank or the Pentagon? Now that it’s fixed I can be glib. Last night was not so pretty.

When I got home at around 11:00 there was an e-mail from my parents saying they’d tried unsuccessfully to access it.

“I tried nothinginmoderation.com and nothinginmoderatio.ca,” my mom wrote. Well there’s the problem, the missing n at the end of moderation. It was early enough in Arizona so I called to say I'd solved the problem. Did I try the site myself? No. I assumed parental error. “It wasn’t the n,” my mom said, we both tried several times. All we got was a black screen with two eyes and tiny purple sparkly lights. Huh?

I went to the site and there they were, the two eyes staring back out at me, and the word hacked in the URL at the top of the page.

I tried about 10 times then did what I do best and freaked out, in the blubbering sense of the word. Through tears I lamented all the work I’d done over the last 9 months, all the final edits I’d made on-line and had no record of, all the photos I’d so carefully chosen, all the well-crafted titles. And on top of that an editor is supposed to look at it this week, and consider me as a blogger for something kind of biggish. (I realize that’s cryptic, but I promise to tell you all what it is soon, whether it happens or not.) “Isn’t it backed up sweetie?” my girlfriend asked. “I don’t know, and what does backed up really mean? I assumed my favourite worst-case-scenario stance and said “They probably wiped out everything for ever.”

My parents were very upset, equally or more flummoxed than me. “I don’t understand,” my mom kept saying. “Maybe it’s still somewhere on your computer.”

It’s not on a computer mom, it’s in cyberspace, on the internet.” I guess she thinks they keep the Gap website at the Gap store and the Sears site at Sears.  The notion of no physicality to things that are so significant is hard to get your head around. It’s a bit like money. Unlike Harry Potter’s Gringotts Bank, there is no pile of money in a box that’s called your account. There’s just the notion of money. That’s why some people keep it under their bed. But you can’t keep your website under your bed so no one will hack it.

In my panic, flailing about, desperate for the reassurance that would allow me to get to sleep, I sent out four e-mails to three different time zones. To Jay in Alberta, to Bryan in Israel, to Ron and Geoff across town – all techno geeks in some form or another. It was late, or early. No one responded.

By morning Bryan had saved the day. He manages the site. He had backed it up.

I hate being dependent on things beyond my understanding and capability, like this blog, my baby, whose physiology I have zero interest in understanding or mastering. Stupid parenting? Certainly the kind of selective ignorance guaranteed to leave me freaked out regularly by bad behaviour like staying out all night.



So you know I now work for a tech company. Not that I am a "techie" of the sort that could recover a hacked site, but I know a thing or two, and am learning two or three more. And a "soon to be classic" story is that of a woman who was taking a class and learning how to use iCloud to synchronize her mobile devices wirelessly. It is, indeed, all rather abstract, but the instructor knew she was in over her hea when the woman asked, "Now, when the cloud is over China, do they have access to all of our information?"


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