One day, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I wasn’t getting any emails to the account I use for my professional writing. I usually get so many emails, I have to put them in different folders just so I can find them again when I need them. But, I didn’t think too much about it. Maybe it was a slow day.
And then I tried to send out a newsletter for this professional association I work with. Not happening.
So I called the great people who host my website and email and asked them what the heck was happening. What was happening…wasn’t good.
I had been hacked.
Someone had gotten into my professional email and they’d sent emails to everyone in my address book. Everyone got something that looked like it came from me and it contained a link to a proposal I supposedly had written. I do write a lot of proposals, so that’s not beyond the realm of possibility that I would have sent that kind of email.
But, click on the link for the proposal? And, boom, you’re infected!
I decided I had to bite the bullet and send an email to all these important folks to tell them to NOT open the horrible email. You know, Dear person-I-want-to-impress: That email wasn’t from me. Sorry.
And that’s when it got worse. My email kept saying I couldn’t send the email.
Back on the phone with the tech folks.
Seems the merry hacker had left me a gift. First, he had written a rule that sent all of my incoming emails to the trash so I never got a chance to see them. That explained why nobody was emailing me.
That was a fairly simple fix.
And then Microsoft saw all those horrible emails from me and decided I was a hacker, so they suspended me. I couldn’t send emails because they thought I was a bad guy.
I imagined all those people in my address book getting infected because they had trusted me, trusted that when they got something from me it was clean. Because that’s the thing. I see now why they call it a virus. Getting hacked makes you feel unclean. Like you are Patient Zero in some kind of epidemic that stems from not washing your hands. You have the double shame of starting the epidemic and of having bad hygiene in the first place.
When you get hacked, you feel stupid, embarrassed and angry. And vulnerable. It’s like getting mugged.