Insta-Hacked

I like to think of myself as being rather geekily inclined.  Certainly I’m no stranger to hacks and people doing surreptitious things online.  Even so, I managed to become a victim of the latest (and not so greatest) hack that’s being perpetrated on Instagram in the past few months.

In the hack, someone asks for your assistance in ‘getting their account back’, or manages to dupe you into accepting a text message from them, that includes a link.  What you’re unaware of (and they usually tell you several times NOT to click on it) is that the link they’re sending you is a password reset of YOUR account, not theirs.  While you’re being distracted by their claiming (after you screenshot the link and copy it to them via Instagram) that nothing is yet happening, either they or someone they’re working with are behind the scenes, logging into your account and kicking you out.  Instagram almost wholly allows them to do this, because they’re utilizing a security process whereby under normal circumstances you can get back into your account if you somehow locked yourself out by processes that might be completely innocent.  Once they’ve gained access, they then change your password, change your email address and then to add insult to injury, enable the two-step verification, making it nearly impossible for you to legitimately regain access to your account.

So, this is what happened to me.  It was this past Saturday, I was getting ready for work and not paying attention.  Too, I was on my tablet, which doesn’t have email access, and the hackers lucked into a perfect situation.  Someone on my followers list (I’m not going to list the account here, as it wasn’t her but they perpetrating the hack) messaged and said innocently enough ‘Can you do me a favor?  I’ve been locked out of my main account and need assistance getting back in.  Instagram isn’t being helpful.’  Which as we will learn later, is all too often the case.  Instagram, being a program under the umbrella of Meta, doesn’t have what one would call a customer service system.  They do, but not to you and me.  IF I had millions of followers and this happened, they’d be falling all over themselves to assist.  Me, with my measly 300+ followers, no such luck.

Getting back to the situation.  I should have ignored the message, but it tugged on my heart strings just the right amount (classic damsel in distress issue) and I thought, what could be the harm?  [Well I found out just how much harm in the next couple of days.]  But, I digress.

So I bit at the apple and went to work, after (stupidly) telling the hacker I was going to be out of touch for 8 hours, since I was going to work.  So they had plenty of time to do what they were going to.  And they went ahead and did their dirty work.

By lunch time, when I went to check on my IG account, I was logged out.  I tried to log back in but my password didn’t work.  I didn’t have a lot of time to do anything, so I figured it was a glitch, and I’d fix it when I got home.  But that didn’t work either, and it was the weekend, which definitely worked in the favor of the evil doers.  After trying many different things, I went to my email program and discovered that my email address on the account had been changed.  So I couldn’t get a reset code to work, as I no longer had access in that manner.  Going to help service online was frustrating, because the hackers had instituted the two-step verification, thwarting my attempts at getting my account back.

Emailing the new owner of the account would be pointless, they weren’t interested in giving it back, so that avenue wasn’t possible.  I did have a Facebook account at one time connected to the IG account, but had long ago discontinued it so they were unable to hack that as well.  As I later learned, I might have been able to regain access if I DID still have the two connected, since the FB account had the 2-step verification active, hence there wasn’t a way for the assholes to gain access to that as well.

Back to the issue at hand.  Going through IG’s medieval, laughing-stock of a help service wasn’t doing me any good.  I went to YouTube and started watching videos of others’ experiences, but after understanding that this type of hack has been going on for many months, and there ARE ways of getting one’s account back, usually they include being able to get Instagram to do basic facial recongition through the use of a video you make and pictures on your account of yourself.  Generally people do have pictures of themselves, and that helps.

In my case I used the account for BDSM purposes mainly and having my face on the account wasn’t a big priority.  So in essence I screwed myself out of getting the account back there too.  I did try to report the account as being fraudulent, in that it was impersonating me, but IG shot that down.  The hacker is using the ‘story’ feature to spam the account (and my followers list) so that none of the ‘new’ posts stay on the account.  They’re covering all the angles, and being very surreptitious in making sure they stay in control of it.  Pissing me off in the process.

I did find a video on YT that said there’s a way of getting the account back, but it’s so involved I’d be hard pressed to be able to do anything about it.  Basically I’d have to turn my life upside down in order to be ready when (or if) Instagram would give me the opportunity to get the account re-registered to me.  I don’t have large chunks of my day to spend waiting for an email or message to show up.  I can’t carry my phone at work, so that negates time that might be THE TIME when IG is allowing me access again.  At this point I’m going to use my pet’s account, message my followers outside of the account itself (through a new account that I created) and ask them to either block the account or stop following as the account IS compromised and apparently will remain so.

It would be nice if a multi-billion dollar company like Meta/Facebook could treat ALL of their customers the same, but that’s never been the case, and it never will be.  They tout how wonderful it is to have free access to social media, but if there’s ever a problem, they tend to wash their hands of it, unless it’s affecting someone that’s contributing a great deal to their bottom line.  Everyone else can pretty much go pound sand.

I’m sorry this happened to me, and to the people that follow me on Instagram.  Just managed to lose a little more of my trust and innocence over the last week.  Whoever you are, hacker;  Fuck you.

 

How do you define ‘relationship’?

Honestly, I hadn’t thought much about this until this morning, when my pet informed me that she’d had a conversation with a friend at a munch, and this was the gist of it.  When the friend asked about her relationship with me, in that we’re not in the same household, it’s long-distance, and for at least four years we were apart, his conclusion was; that what we have isn’t (in his opinion) a relationship.

Furthermore, I don’t understand what his disconnect is on the issue, other than the fact that we’re not in the same house.  Two people that love one another, are trying to build something between them, and the fact that they’re not necessarily being physically intimate (to whatever degree) appears to be his undoing as far as logic goes.  To be clear, initially, when my pet informed me of his problem my mental response was akin to telling him to go piss up a rope.  He’s not the arbiter of our happiness now, nor will he ever be in the future.

After having thought about it in the ensuing day or so, it made me consider the issue from a different perspective.  Perhaps his issue is with the concept of distance, in that two people that are separated by it can’t have a typical, normal relationship that’s been tested in time over the centuries.  Though in my own mind, that would preclude people that were in conflicts like World War II, when soldiers in some cases were separated from their loved ones for many years, and yet when reunited, were able to continue with their relationship as if no time at all had passed.  Granted some got divorced because they had either grown apart, or the horrors of war had made them strange bedfellows, PTSD can be a nasty issue even in today’s conflicts.  But, I digress.

From a further conversation with my pet, she informed me the friend in question’s issue is more of his particular interpretation of BDSM, in that there’s a greater instance of sex and/or intercourse at the conclusion of play, which doesn’t exist in my own.  I’ve found over the years that many that have become introduced to the scene see it through the eyes (or screens) of pay sites, where the old adage rings true “sex sells“.  This is true if you’re wanting to get clicks or $$ from people observing or participating on your website, but if you break down the acronym BDSM, there’s NOTHING in the letters to denote that the payoff is sex.

The bottom line, we have a relationship.  And if her friend doesn’t like it, with all (or little) due respect; he can go fuck himself.

Incentive

We all need a little incentive on occasion when we’re doing things for ourselves, even for others.

In that vein, recently my pet has started to exercise in earnest, getting a membership at her local YMCA, and keeping track of her progress using a homemade workout sheet.  With that in mind, she needed a way to print off the sheets so she’s able to keep track, so, between the two of us, we got her a used printer that I had recently been gifted by a co-worker.  I cleaned it up, found the proper drivers from the manufacturer’s website and bought new ink so it would work properly, and even managed to find the right cable in my cobble of old tech to make sure it would connect to her laptop.

One evening while we were talking on the phone after work, she suggested that we might set up a system whereby she could send me her completed workout sheets, and after looking them over, confirm that she indeed was doing what she had set out to do; (complete her self-imposed quotas) I (in turn) could reward her with a trinket or something that she has listed on her Amazon wishlist.  There are other places online (and off) where she has wishlists and desires for low-cost items that would please her, and remind her that she’s indeed doing good work and should continue in the same vein.  She’s doing it not for prizes, but for the ultimate goal of being in better health.  The trinkets are more to help her along.

To wit, so far I’ve gotten her a pendant for her, and she absolutely loved it.  I have some other things in mind, which I will be sending over the course of the next couple of weeks.  I certainly don’t want them to become ‘old hat’ or expected, so I have to be careful in what I choose to send, that there’s meaning to them.

And I don’t want them interfering with birthday, anniversary or other holiday type presents.

 

Far from it, pet

Oh, how often have I heard the words “I’m stupid“, or “I can’t do that!” from my pet.  For the longest time, it was almost as if we had to deal with a bugaboo in her brainpan where she was steadfastly convinced her brain was working against her in some way.  “It takes me the longest time to learn anything Master!” she’d say, which wasn’t necessarily true, but she’d insist that it was.  In many ways, she’d also say that I was the only one that could explain things, or speak “Pet’ese”, her own personal language where if I explained it, she’d get it.  Cull from that what you will, dear reader.

When she visited me last month, one of her desires was to have a printer for her laptop.  Coincidentally, I just happened to have a spare printer that had been gifted to me by a friend, who was getting rid of her computer.  Bing bang boom, as the old adage goes, two birds with one stone.

Long story short, I was able to get the printer set up, talk to her laptop and show her how the two worked.  I had a spare cable to facilitate the communication and she was set.  When she went home, she had a basic understanding of how to use it.  I figured over time together with the assistance of a little program called TeamViewer; we would be able to collaborate to use it for her benefit.

In the last couple of weeks, she’s been getting back into working out, and she wanted some incentive to do her weekly exercise regimen.  That’s fine, every person needs something to help when they’re doing something somewhat difficult, and I was happy to assist.  She has workout sheets that she uses to keep track of what machines she’s using, the weights she’s utilizing, and so on.  But before, she didn’t have a way to send the sheets to me, but the printer, with its All-In-One capability (It also scans and faxes), fixes that issue handily.  If you know how it works.

Enter TeamViewer.  A couple of years ago, when I got the laptop for her (an upgraded version of the one I’m using, so it offered familiarity for me if hers ever broke), I had it shipped to me first before being sent on to her so I could look it over, add any programs that might be usable and so on.  One of them was TeamViewer, a free program where people can conference or take ‘control’ of another’s computer for the purpose of diagnosis or teaching.

One evening after she had gotten off work, and I had some free time, we fired up our respective programs and I taught her how to use the program and the printer to scan her workout sheet, create a PDF with it, how to find it on her laptop once it was created, and then how to attach it to an email and send it out.  My intention at the time was to screenshot enough so that I could create a visual tutorial so she could do it on her own.  She was fairly convinced that she wouldn’t be able to do it without my assistance the first few times.  I figured the tutorial would take the place of that and she’d be fine after looking it over and following the step by steps.

Of course, as things occur, I managed to get side-tracked and didn’t make the tutorial.  I had mentioned I needed access to her computer again in the near future to make the tutorial, but our schedules never seemed to coalesce.  A couple of weeks went by and she had a couple of workout sheets to send me.  One day, rather than take the easy route and just take a picture of it with her phone, she decided to try to recreate the steps herself, and experiment to see if she could do it on her own.

And it worked!  She informed me later that day the workout sheets were in my inbox.  When I went there, I discovered that she’d done a great job.  Easy to read, it was in PDF form, ALL the boxes were ticked.  Couldn’t have done better myself.  I informed her of such, heaped (deserved!) praise on her and was very pleased she hadn’t let the possibility of failure get her down or dissuade her from trying.

See, pet?  You CAN do this!  VERY proud of you!  What are you going to conquer next?

RIP, HWill

There are people that come into your life that you sometimes take for granted.  You rather expect that they’re always going to be around, and you’ll have time to meet them, see them, or just interact with them, and kick yourself when they die unexpectedly and rob you of that opportunity.

Will Perlis was that sort of person.  He and I met online, on a system called Compuserve that existed back in the 1980s and 90s.  We met on a forum called HSX, which stood for ‘Human Sexuality’ (yes, even back in the dark ages such things existed) but more specifically there was an interior forum called “12b” which was hosted by a woman named Gloria Brame, and it was the forum where the kinksters hung out.  The nerdy kinksters, I guess you would say.

This was the place where you could feel comfortable interacting with those that were (secretly) like yourself.  It was certainly where I spent a good deal of time with my then girlfriend, who eventually became my wife.  Everyone had nicknames on there, much like they do on Fetlife, or other types of message boards and forums.  Back then, I was known as YM or ‘Young Mark’ because my girlfriend (Christabel) was a bit older than I.  Sort of a May/December, robbing the cradle or dating up as the sayings go.  But I digress

Will’s nickname was HWill.  Ok, not so much a nickname as some were, but it was what we’ve been calling him, even 35 years later.  HIS girlfriend at the time was named ‘Kait’, and they were thick as thieves.  For them, it was a long distance relationship, but they got to meet at Christabel’s and my wedding.  In a rather intricate quirk of fate, Will was pressed into service as my best man, since I actually forgot I needed one.  Living in a different part of the state, not really having anyone that I thought would be prudent for such a thing, I was informed it was necessary and traditional.  HWill was amused but willing to step in at a moment’s notice since the Justice of the Peace insisted someone stand there with me at the moment of truth.

A year or so later, Will moved to California to be with Kait.  They lived quite happily in LA for many years, and as Compuserve wound down, we still kept in touch with them through the Interwebs, and were informed in 2010 that Kait had passed away from a sudden heart attack.  Which left Will devastated, and the impromptu father figure to two mischevious cats named Izzi and Kiri that were originally hers.  In the ensuing years Christabel would be more in contact with Will than I, every year on our anniversary he’d send her a message, addressed to us both, and she’d forward it to me.  I’d respond to the email, and it would be quiet again until the next year.

Will and I were friends on Facebook, as well as Fetlife.  Facebook was a bit more of Will’s place to post in the last 10 years, since her wasn’t interested in a new play partner after Kait’s passing.  I often wondered what he did with his BDSM toys, he answered that question a couple of years ago when he posted a thought/question on Fet about what are ‘your’ plans for when you’re gone, how are your toys going to go over with the person(s) that are going to be picking up after you’re gone.  He gave away his toys and various items, his computer and files are password protected and probably will be erased or trashed so there’s no electronic trail after his passing.  His children were aware of his activities (I think), so there’s probably not going to be any embarrassing discoveries in his apartment (aside from Kait’s ashes in a glass jar sandwiched between two reference volumes).

I was skimming through Facebook last evening when I happened upon a post of Will’s.  It was a bit confusing at first as it referenced ‘our father’ and it mentioned he died in his sleep.  Will’s Dad had died many years ago, and then the quarter bonged in the bottom of the box.  The post was by his kids.  Will had passed away.  Christabel was seated behind me and I turned around and said ‘Will died”.  She didn’t understand me.  I repeated it; “HWill died.”  She reacted pretty incredulously and asked me to send her the link.  Which I did, but Facebook, after being notified of someone’s passing, closes the public profile for whatever reason, so she wasn’t able to see it.  Being the technokiddy I am, I was able to screenshot the post and send it to her.  I posted to his profile a bit about our mutual history and offered our condolences to the his kids.

I’m left wondering what happened to his cats.

Rest in Peace, Will.  Thanks for everything.