Thursday, September 15, 2016

#48 - An Open Letter to Hackers

Dear Hackers;
Hi, it’s great to finally sit down and have a conversation. I mean, we aren’t really sitting in the same room together, and I don’t know how many of you there are, but I’m still glad we finally have a chance to talk.

I don’t know who all of you are. I know there is “Anonymous,” and “Gucifer,” and the Russians who hacked into the Democratic Party, and of course the North Koreans who hacked Sony a couple years ago. You may also include Wikileaks. I don’t think Edward Snowden is part of this conversation. He’s more of a whistle-blower who just happened to have access to classified material. There are many others who I haven’t mentioned, I’m sure. We don’t know who hacked the credit card system of Target and stole a lot of customers’ credit card numbers. A friend of mine was in that group…the group of people who had their credit card numbers stolen, not the group who did it.

I first became aware of you guys several years ago, the first time some funny things happened to an old bank account of mine. That was seven or eight years ago now, and I don’t even remember all the details anymore. That was also long enough ago that it probably makes you laugh to think back on those primitive hacking days.

Two years ago you hacked my Yahoo email account, forcing me to finally switch to Gmail. Friends of mine were getting emails saying they were from me, telling them that I was stuck in Greece and please send money. Most of my friends laughed when they got the email. “Peter’s email got hacked,” they all said uproariously. No one believed the email was real. Did you really think anyone would send money? I mean, come on. My friends are smarter than that. I did, though, start asking myself, “but what if I actually WERE stuck in Greece and emailed my friends for money?” It dawned on me that my friends would laugh it off the same way, and never send me any money.

Some of you, I know now, are embedded deep inside the Chase banking system. You know who you are, and Chase knows you are there, but they don’t seem too concerned. When I closed my Chase account a few weeks ago, the banker asked me why I was closing the account. “You guys are hacked,” I said. “They’re inside your system.” The banker was silent for a minute, and then said, “Well, we’re pretty big, you know.” I wasn’t sure if this was her way of saying, Well, we’re big, what do you expect? Maybe Chase is okay with your hacking presence, as long as you don’t mess them up TOO much.

Some of you have hacked into the U.S. Government. You’ve leaked private emails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell. You have, I’m sure, hacked into very important and ‘secure’ computer systems world-wide, and are just waiting for the right moment to do something diabolical and shocking.

I received a fraudulent email recently claiming to be from the IRS (I’m smart enough to know that the IRS doesn’t send emails). The email said I risked jail time if I didn’t send money owed due to ‘tax fraud.’ Maybe that wasn’t you guys. Maybe that’s not really hacking. I suppose that’s just old school scammers. So, if that was none of your doing, sorry. I don’t mean to tarnish your image.

You see, hackers, you are winning, as far as I can tell. I realize this now.

Sometimes I’m supportive of this. I do believe in exposing government secrets to some degree.

What worries me is that those who are trying to stop you seem to be failing. The only good news I can find in any of this, is that maybe you are keeping the technology industry honest. Maybe you are preventing the powers that be from totally taking over our lives.

If I could ask just one small favor, though; do you think you could hack into ALL the big Hollywood studios, and rig their numbers so they think they have to STOP making only sequels and remakes? If you could twist their numbers so it suddenly looks like NEW ideas are the hot new thing, CREATIVE concepts are the sure bet....that would make me feel a lot better about all the future times you plan to hack my emails and bank acounts.

-Peter Wick
September 15, 2016