Obviously, I have a website. I’m proud of it: www.loriduffwrites.com. I paid someone to set it up initially, but ever since the very beginning I have changed it and added to it often. It’s one of my children, really, lovingly created out of materials I had on hand. It is very meaningful to me.
To me, anyway.
I get that it is not likely to be meaningful to any other human being on the planet. As things go relatively in the world, it isn’t very important. You can’t purchase the necessities of life on my website, or get information with which to do your homework or write your dissertation, you can’t edit photos or meet new friends. (Unless, of course, you take one of my classes, or get into a very interesting conversation in the comment section below, all of which I urge you to do.)
Which is why it surprised me so much that I got hacked.
I checked on my website, much like you might check on an infant to see if it is breathing, for regular feeding and maintenance, and I found this:
That particular page should have looked like this:
I was NOT a big fan of the switch, largely because I had not done it, and no one else has the password to do it. White hat hacker, indeed.
I Googled “white hat hacker” to see who else was the victim, and learned that “white hat hacker” is a category, not a particular person. A white hat hacker is a hacker (in my head I go with a stereotyped slightly overweight, pasty-faced, acne-ridden white male aged 17-23 whose only romantic relationships and actual friendships have been with virtual people, and who desperately needs a haircut) who hacks into websites for allegedly benevolent reasons. They hack in and make themselves known in order to alert people to security problems.
I *think* that’s all my hacker was doing. It was an easy fix, all I had to do was click “restore previous version” and confirm that I did, in fact, want to restore the previous version of the page. I updated my WordPress, like the hacker suggested, and I have noticed any other problems.
It was annoying. And scary.
And, in an odd way, extremely flattering. I know I’m not anything more than dust in the wind. My life and my brain droppings are important to me. I have trouble believing that there is anyone else in the multiverse who would give any more than a two second “awww” if my website ceased to exist. It would take a very long time before most people – including my family – even noticed.
But a white hat hacker noticed my existence, and for the moment I will take him at his word that he only means to help. I’d like to return the favor – Mr. White Hat Hacker – if you’re out there somewhere, let me know who you are and I’ll help you with your grammar.
If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori on Twitter, or on Facebook. For the Best of Lori, read her books, “Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza,” “The Armadillo, the Pickaxe, and the Laundry Basket,” and her latest release, “You Know I Love You Because You’re Still Alive.”
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.