OK, cybercrime.  I get it.  A person with no ethics and no money happens to own a computer or have use of one, and so this person sits down and figures out ways to get into strangers’ email accounts. 

Must have some intelligence, right?  Some ability?  Yes.  The person must be bored, or broke, or mean, or all three.  He or she needs a hobby, like crocheting or playing piano or spewing graffiti art all over the refrigerator door.  But, no.  That won’t bring in cash.  That’s too easy, too “square,” too normal.

Well, I’d like to say that these efforts at getting money are too obvious, too trite, and too obnoxious for even the hacker’s own good.

I mean, think about it: This bright person, this hacker-in-the-making, sticks his fat virtual nose into those email accounts, sucks up all the victim’s contacts and email addresses and then writes everyone with a sob story about getting mugged, etc.—so please send money. 

Huh.  The first time I receive a request like this, I admit I got worried.  I tried to figure out why my professional colleague suddenly couldn’t spell and had awkward syntax in English.  I tried to figure out why she would call me instead of her mother or cousin or husband or child.  I tried to figure out if I should help.  I phoned the friend and discovered the “I’ve been mugged, send money” scam.  I hoped it wouldn’t happen to me, not that most of my friends have any money to wire me anyway.

Today I got initiated.  My emails and contacts went “poof,” my account got jammed, and dozens of friends, acquaintances and colleagues called and wrote to check if I was OK, if I needed money, if I had suddenly escaped to the Philippines.  I spent two hours figuring out what to do and messing with email accounts and passwords and customer service reps.  I learned that people I hardly know care about if I am mugged on the other side of the world.  And I felt contempt for those hackers for their lousy punctuation and spelling skills.  Ha!  Think you can fake that you’re me?  I wouldn’t make such a stupid typo!  So take THAT! 

What am I trying to say?  Yes, I am venting.  Yes, I am denouncing the joy of a whole new type of crime (our house was robbed several years ago and that was traumatic; this was less so in many ways but creepier in another: this crime is international, I don’t really get how it’s done—and can’t picture a computer virus; does it have antennae?)  The sociologist in me is wondering what kinds of cybercrime will pop up to annoy us ten or twenty or thirty years from now.  The social worker in me wants to tell the hacker that with these tech skills, he or she could really, really, find a legit way to make money.  Oh, and the writer in me?  The writer in me wants to throw a dictionary at him.

If you need a thrill, Sir / Madam Hacker, why not try bungee jumping?  Or even gambling; you might make money that way. 

In any case, take a grammar class to improve your pleas for funds.  

I know you won’t do that, though.  That would require foresight, maturity, humility, and courage.  None of which you need to slink behind the cyber-curtain, stealing people’s names and addresses and hopefully their bank accounts.

Wow, I DO feel better.  Thanks for listening.  The wonders of the cyber world, huh?  LONG LIVE THE BLOG!



Paul De Lancey February 19, 2013 @07:03 pm

I wasn't even given a phone number or address. I was feeling so bad not being able to send you the money. Now, I feel much better. I do admit to confusion, seeing how I saw you at the conference and all. Whew, you weren't bilocating.

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