HOW PUBLIC? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Public

Having been hacked and fortunately gotten off relatively lightly, I’m wary about information being given away online. You can’t protect yourself entirely, especially as a blogger. No matter what you do, anyone with the will and interest can find out whatever they want about it … but within the limits of our abilities, I try to make sure I don’t leave the barn door open.

The lock might not be the best in town, but considering that the U.S. Government has been hacked and my bank has been hacked twice, as well as Adobe, Lands’ End, Equifax, Facebook … and who knows how many more have been taken down by hackers, I’m pretty sure I don’t have anything in my arsenal that would stop a determined hacker.

The requirements of writing mean that you are going to get at least a little bit personal. The question always remains, “HOW personal?” At what point does “personal” mean too much?

It doesn’t help that the stores, banks, and agencies we work with online appear to be easily hacked. In my case, material that got hacked on Facebook was sold or given (I suspect sold) to Cambridge Analytica who then sold my personal material to any hacker with the money to pay for their list. Of course, there was the recent international round of router hackers. I got a new router, but who knows if the new one has any more stopping power than the original? As far as protecting ourselves from people who hack people and steal their money for a living, we are relatively helpless.

All of this hacking stuff is some version of identity theft and short of not using any online stuff, which these days is nigh unto impossible, there’s no way we can prevent identity theft.

You do your best, but compared to the pros in the field, we don’t have a lot of power to protect ourselves. As soon as they invent a new “protection,” hackers figure out a way to tear it down.

So how public do we dare be? Most of us are already public, there’s not much to hide.

Whether you are a blogger or merely connect to accomplish normal business with banks and other organizations — like, say, the Motor Vehicles Department — we will always be a few steps behind the people who do it because that’s how they make a living.

I always wonder if the damage they do bothers them … or are they simply without any kind of conscience? I’m betting the latter.

In a more perfect world, we would have made sure everyone was well protected before we offered online service, but this is far from a perfect world. And apparently, getting less perfect minute-by-minute.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

28 thoughts on “HOW PUBLIC? – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. Don’t I know it! I was absolutely sure no one would even be interested in us. I forgot about credit cards. WE may not have any money, but the cards ARE money. What a bunch of nasty people those hackers are, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They don’t have any jobs there either Marilyn. When we were in Moscow this computer guy was our taxi driver from the airport. He used to work for Hewlett Parkard and was making a good salary but lost his job. He’d have the computer skills to do the hacking.
        Leslie

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  1. It’s the price we all pay to live in the connected world and all we can do is to try to be careful. I have had an experience with identity theft and it sucks, but I am not ready to totally disconnect, even at the risk of being a victim of hacking.

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    1. What’s really hilarious is that the moment I finished writing this, our power went OUT. Apparently, someone hit a tree with an SUV. The lights (and wifi and phone and heat and water) are back. I’d get a generator except for the $10,000 price tag!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Maybe not such an expensive one, but we got an emergency generator on sale (can’t remember exactly how much but about C$400) from Walmart a couple of years back and have had to use it a couple of times. It’t has enough juice to run a couple of small appliances, a few lights, and the fridge/freezer in between.

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        1. It’s not the price of the generator. You can get a decent one for under a thousand dollars, sometimes a LOT less. But you can’t run it indoors and unless you have the right kind of connection, the electrical work costs a fortune.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I always have thought that anyone who took the trouble to hack me would deserve exactly what they got; i.e. nothing or not very danged much at all. And I still believe that old saying from Shakespeare:

    Iago:
    Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
    Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
    Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
    ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
    But he that filches from me my good name
    Robs me of that which not enriches him,
    And makes me poor indeed.

    Othello Act 3, scene 3, 155–161

    Doesn’t make the theft any more palatable, but really. I have a nephew, who in his younger days (he’s in his 20s and still a ‘kid’ to me) liked to tag things. You know, go around spray painting rubbish on buildings and signs; defacing stuff that wasn’t his. When I heard of this I asked him in all seriousness “why?” I find that kind of thing stupid and mindless and maybe a bit cruel. Expensive sometimes too. He shrugged his shoulders and said “It’s something to DO at least.” I think personally THAT is the attitude of the hacker. They’re bored and they want to mess with people on a large scale. Some of them do it for the actual material gain they get.

    I’m with you. No soul, no conscience, no expected reprimand. It’s a sad ugly world these days. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, the hackers have a purpose and that is money — or the directions of a government or terrorist group. They are NOT random at all. Mostly, it’s money, but recently, it has been political. Hackers also need some very expensive equipment. Not just a spray paint can. I got repaid the money, but they managed to steal about $20,000 from one place or another. That’s a pretty good payout and nothing random about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For many hackers (the younger ones anyway) money isn’t a purpose – it’s a bonus! 😉

        The purpose is to show off to fellow hackers how ‘smart’ they are. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Time has moved on since Will’s day i’m afraid… information is now worth much more to criminals (corporate or sole hacker) than material possessions or the contents of your wallet/purse.

      An expert hacker can use your data gained from any on-line activity you undertake to put you in debt while they get the goods. Not all banks or credit companies may care it was not you who took actual possession or that you did not authorise any transaction done in your name.

      It is possible nowadays to lose more than you actually have because of the Internet and our agreeing to use it without fully appreciating how much it costs and could cost us to do so, or how it actually works and how unsafe it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good points, my security is along the lines of calling myself D! I’m as wide open as anyone else, however I don’t have money, state secrets or hold any particular valuable safe codes. I’ve got a lot of vinyl and would be gutted if someone tried to take that, hackers just deal in 1’s and 0’s and as such my records are safe for another day.

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    1. Hackers steal credit cards. Trust me. I KNOW they do. I try to keep as many of them as possible NOT saved on the internet. Also, I was warned while we were treading through the hacking, that better passwords and don’t leave important banking passwords saved. But you know, no matter how careful we are? Those guys are GOOD. They are a lot better than us and they have all kinds of decrypting software. We can only do what we can do.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I try to be careful although I feel that there is so much information about me out there already that even if I stopped using online services and social media today it would still be too late. In many cases, it’s not possible to do without. If I ring social services I get a recorded message telling me all their operators are busy and to go online instead. This is particularly annoying when I am calling them because their online service won’t let me do what I need to do. When that happens I get on the bus and travel 20kms to the nearest office to talk to a human being.

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  5. The reason i use a nom-de-plume for my blog is mostly so i don’t give hackers personal information ( well, any more than i can help). I don’t have a facebook account in my real name and use subtle switches to my name/details when signing up for most things on-line so i can see who sells what to whom.

    It’s not perfect and a hacker worthy of the name can still get into my computer if they really want to but i’m not that much of a target or challenge and definitely don’t have the stuff they really want other than my name and address and D.O.B. They can get better stuff easier elsewhere.

    That’s pretty much our only line of ‘defence’ against them – hope they pick on a better target.!

    There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ computer/website.

    As for a ‘conscience’ – they have them, they might not be anywhere near the quality of yours and mine – but they have them. it’s just that they can convince themselves that they are the ‘good’ guys and the victims should have known better and/or had it coming to them for not being as ‘clever’ as they are.

    There may well be a bit of: ‘The World Sucks and I’m going to get what i can out of it any way i can – who cares?’ in it as well?

    The world is not seen as a fair place by some people and they think that gives them the right to be unfair back. 😦

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    1. That’s what we thought. We are actually POOR. Our bank account is tiny and we have no significant savings, no bonds, and there’s nothing of much value in the house either. So why us? The answer is this:

      Facebook sold my sign up information to Cambridge Analytica who in turn sold the information to whoever would buy it. Literally, anyone who could buy the info could get it. The are millions of people who have more money and assets than us, but with the help of Facebook which I use almost exclusively to publicize my blog, they got me. It really did start with Facebook and I wish I could sue their nasty asses.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m also surprised you have a FB account that isn’t your real name. They’ve gotten very nitpicky about that in this country. You can’t get an account without including a full name.

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      2. Hmmmmm…. :-<

        I bet there'd be a whole BUNCH of people wiling to join a class action for damages! Know any decent lawyers??
        (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! – 'Decent' lawyers – i kill me!)

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  6. We got nicked last year in Ontario. Somebody got into my bank account. Fortunately 2 things spared me any great harm:
    – I have next to NO money.
    – Most crooks are stupid idiots. They went to a Mucho Burrito and bot 218 dollars worth of Burittos. Hardly a wise crime.
    Yeah, we still don’t know how they they got in? or who they were?
    Nothing is safe.

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    1. Well, we bank with Bank of America and they’ve been hacked twice that I know of. So far, so good and we didn’t get hurt. The hackers got us, but luckily, the cards were insured. I think the number of people who’ve been hacked and/or had their identity stolen is up to 1 out of 2 — it is that common. I don’t know about you, but I think they really need to pay more attention to hackers. Find them. Put them in PRISON. For a long time.

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