Much has happened since last we met, oh say, almost two years ago! I’ll blame a larger percentage of my blogging derailment on a career change. I was finally, after years of applying, give an opportunity to teach college English which turned out to be all-consuming. As of January 1st, however, I was offered a permanent position at the college writing center which I could not be happier about. I feel at home there surrounded by students, words, literary devices, books, APA, MLA, and a host of other nerdy resources. Best of all, my weekends and extra time are once again my own without the piles of essays and grammar homework to grade.
Then, just as I was settling into 2020 . . .
I was hacked.
I’m praying none of you had any first-hand knowledge of this because to this day, I’ve no idea what my hacker’s intentions were—phishing, installing malware, posting their own ugly message on my website—I’ve no idea. I’m praying there were no glimpses by any of you before Google and every other search engine shut Pages & Stories down.
I was always a believer in technology. I loved all the techie toys, new phones, and laptops that made my life easier. Everybody had my email address. Everyone had my phone number. Doctors and hairdressers alike confirmed appointments via text. I scorned the use of paper. I joined the ranks of those who would never think of printing a boarding pass. Apps kept both my finances and fitness rigidly in shape. The organization of it all made my little anal retentive heart sing.
I laughed off warnings of “big brother.” “If anyone thinks my conversations or emails are so interesting,” I would retort, “they’re welcome to spy.”
Until I was hacked.
The first sign of trouble was blocked emails. I cancelled a meeting by email only to receive a frantic phone call hours later asking whether I was still planning to attend. Suddenly, I was unable to send any emails from either my personal or my business accounts. I reached out to my email provider with no response. The problem persisted. Then, I realized my website, the beautiful website I had paid a great deal of money to have professionally designed, had also been hacked. Instead of my Pages & Stories webpage, I was presented with a big, red screen warning of all sorts of nefarious and evil doings.
Red invaded my entire cyber life. I couldn’t log into the administrator page of the website. My email address and login information weren’t recognized. I didn’t know what to do or how to get help since I don’t read code and know nothing of web design.
Within a few days, I became a nonbeliever, a curmudgeon muttering away in the corner about privacy. Even my phone crashed. New terms such as “encrypted,” “virtual private network,” and “web application firewall” invaded my vocabulary.
On the recommendation of more people than I can count, I contacted Sucuri who rode in on a white horse and saved the day, and while my white knight and I may have ridden off into the sunset, the damage is still fresh in my mind, and there’s still quite a bit of muttering going on in the corner.