I should have been angry. I should have been furious. I should have been ranting with self-righteous indignation. I should have felt like my privacy had be violated, like my world had been invaded, like my self had been stolen and yet the best I could muster was a rather insipid ‘whatever’.
This message appeared in my email box:
Someone just used your password to try to sign in to your Google Account using an application such as an email client or mobile device.
Details: Sunday, February 19, 2017 1:21 PM (Eastern European Standard Time)
So, someone in Egypt is busy pretending they’re me and the best I can do is wonder what they look like. Are they even a flesh-and-blood person or are they a computer program randomly trying a bunch of pilfered addresses? If they’re real, are they male or female, boy or girl, man or woman? Are they doing this for a living or just for the hell of it? What do they hope to gain? My emails aren’t that interesting. And where did they get my address/password from anyway?
Cyber-attacks on grand scale happen every day. At the Warsaw Summit back in July last year, NATO declared cyberspace as the fourth military domain, in company with land, air, and sea. The battle is on. A quick check of the Hackmageddon site shows the scale of what’s happening out there and it ain’t pretty:
… the discovery of a long lasting cyber espionage campaign in Italy dubbed EyePyramid, targeting the political and economical elite, and the massive cyber attack against Barts Health Trust, the largest NHS trust in England.
Now, with power grids being brought their knees (remember Kiev being plummeted into darkness last year?), with the accounts of millions of being compromised, my thief in Egypt will hardly rate a mention. And knowing that, I couldn’t muster anything close to anger. Because sadly, I see it as a cost of doing business on the Net. At some stage, all of my accounts will be compromised. Live with it, Mary.
And add to the theft itself, the doubt it created. Because of this one incident, I had to change all my passwords everywhere and that was no mean feat, not to mention inconvenient and an hour of my life I’ll never get back. But before the change could happen, I had to find out if the original Google alert was real. Yep. Perhaps the warning was a phishing scam and not really from Google at all. But I checked the email address, proofread the text, and made sure it was from a secure site. And that, ladies and gentlemen is the extent of my preparedness. Sad.
Do I need to know more? Do I need to take more precautions? Or can I be sure that Google is out there, watching my back, knowing that it can’t prevent people stealing my password but it can let me know when it happens…
So much for the initial ‘whatever’. The real anger, frustration, and indignation set in when I started thinking of how much more I whatever – more important things like racial comments, bullying, political stupidity. Are they, too, just the price I pay for living in the twenty-first century? Have my sensibilities been dulled to the point that I’m growing inured to atrocities and injustice? Am I retreating into my own little world, cocooning myself in a bucolic blanket, about as far as I can get from reality without stepping off the world altogether? Is my ever-present craving to hole up in the countryside symptomatic of my disillusionment with life in general? Has feeling safe become so important that I relish closing the gates on the outside world, just to feel that sense of peace I don’t know anywhere else?
Damn you, Egypt. I had more to be doing this week than second-guess myself.