Some of you know this, but two nights ago, Formerly Hot was hacked.
I’m old enough to remember when being hacked meant that you got a really bad haircut, paid too much for it and were too intimidated to complain. In my teens and 20s, this was unutterably traumatic, like, gather-30-girlfriends-in-a-bar-to-reassure-you-that-it’s-not-that-bad traumatic. And then, of course, the one gay male friend present would tell you the truth, leaving you to sort through an uncomfortable mix of gratitude for his honesty and abject grief, because your head really did look like a topiary.
Feh! Being hacked that way is nothing compared to being hacked this way. On the spectrum of hacking horror, I’d put the Edward Scissorhands nightmare at a 1.5 and Chucky coming at you with an axe at a 10. For me, computer hacking was roughly an 8.
As far as I can tell, some not-nice person figured out the user name and password of Formerly Hot’s host’s database. I have only a vague idea what that means but that’s what I was told. He (it’s not right or fair but I’m going with the masculine pronoun here, as I tend to when referring to the perpetrator of an illegal and/or crappy act) had free rein to do the techie equivalent to breaking into my house, using my makeup and going through my underwear drawer. He had access to every one of my files.
He then uploaded some kind of spaminator and started sending out ads for teen porn FROM MY EMAIL ADDRESS! Nice, right? The company that hosts Formerly Hot suspended my account, which was the thing to do. Then the tech guy there told me that since there was no way to determine which of my files were compromised, they’d all have to be deleted.
I spent 18 hours pleading with him via email and IM not to delete my files, deciphering geekspeak, and calling friends who are smarter than I am to beg for advice (special thanks to VÃƒÂ©ronique.) I also did a lot of compulsive eating and spitting in disbelief that despite everything you hear about how nothing is ever really deleted (that’s why you shouldn’t send saucy text messages if you might someday be vetted for a Cabinet position) that in fact, Formerly Hot would be as extinct as it’s looking like the polar bear may soon be. Thank God or whomever (I thank the tech guy at the host site) that in the end, the files could be saved.
So kids, change your passwords constantly–not quite as often as you change your undies but more often than you change your Brita filter. There’s no magic time frame here, and in fact, the guy who developed this site said that the password wasn’t one that was easy to figure. But at least if you make it cryptic enough, and change it often enough, it’ll take too long for an evildoer to decipher and he’ll move on.
Anyway, just for fun, tell me about your worst haircuts. Be descriptive.