Most embarrassing moment of recent memory: Getting my e-mail hacked last week.
I used to laugh at those people who clearly clicked on some ridiculous link, or left their e-mail open at the library, or still visit websites that end in “geocities.” But last week, somehow, I became one of those people.
Many of you may have received an e-mail that looked like it came from me on Thursday. As soon as I discovered the spamming, I changed my password, but the spamming continued. Based on the advice from some of you, I set up Gmail’s two-step authentication process, where I need a password and a code texted to my cell phone in order to access my e-mail. I haven’t heard from anyone about any suspicious e-mails lately, so hopefully it’s over.
The whole thing made me wonder: What would a Nigerian hacker gain from spamming my e-mail account? Other than simply spreading the virus — as my mom said, “Are these people just terrible people who want to cause you harm?” — here are my thoughts as to why someone might want to take control of my e-mail.
- Sabotage the renewal of my library books. What if this hacker saw the notification from my local library that my audio book was due tomorrow and then deleted the e-mail, never to be seen by me? I’d never know my book was due, and I’d carry on, listening to it at my leisure, never knowing I was secretly being fined $0.10 a day. I can’t afford this, hackers!
- Read interesting articles that my friends and family send me. Hackers, the Internet has tons of content that is free and open to the public — why deprive me of the specific articles that my friends and family e-mail to me? You think getting into my e-mails will make you smarter? Maybe until I know this ordeal is sorted out, I’ll ask friends to online e-mail me articles from The Onion so you’ll only learn satirical yet hilarious lies.
- RSVP “yes” to Facebook events put on by people I barely know. I’m not really sure how I got those invites in the first place — we’re Facebook friends because we went to the same high school but didn’t even really talk to each other then, so of course I get invited to their work fundraisers? — but you’d go into my e-mail, somehow gain access to my Facebook, and RSVP “yes” on my behalf to those weird events. The poor souls whom I barely know will get their hopes up for nothing.
- Forget to tell me about relevant Groupon and LivingSocial deals. WHAT??? My hair salon is having a Groupon deal and you didn’t tell me? Or the restaurant that I’m visiting tomorrow is having a half off deal and I will never know? What is the purpose of living now?
- Organize gatherings without me. A hacker could easily e-mail my closest friends, decide that we’re meeting for dinner at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Maggiano’s in Old Orchard … and I would NEVER know. Not only are you hacking into my account, but you’re getting my friends together without me? You truly are heartless.
So, friends, I do apologize for the spammy e-mails, and I hope none of you clicked on the suspicious links. And hackers, if you’re reading this: If you mess with my weekly Pinterest Picks e-mails, filled with the magical pins that Pinterest somehow knows I will enjoy — I will find you.