Non-BDSM Life

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.

 

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.

 

Recharge the batteries

We’re spending a few days on the beach.  We haven’t been on a vacation since last May, so it was time to load up the new SUV and strike out for someplace we’ve never been.  That’s usually how vacations work for us, we try to find a place that we’re both interested in going to, and preferably someplace new.  Find a house to rent, or a suitable hotel with the right amenities (not a Super 8 or Motel 6) and use it as ‘home base’ while we explore the countryside or museums or whatnot.  We’re both interested in the history of the US Civil War (not the current one, the 19th-century version) and have been to Gettysburg and Antietam in this decade.  

‘Christabel’ had been to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware when she was a child.  Me, I’d never even been to the state of Delaware.  Passed it more than a few times driving to NC or VA, but never been through it.   Consequently, it seemed like the right place to go, it was past Labor Day so we’d get a financial break on the room, there’d be fewer people in the area, and most of the local restaurants would still be open.  Granted a lot of the tourist’y’ businesses on the boardwalk would more than likely be closed for the season, but since we’re not big aficionados of Skee-ball, it wouldn’t be a huge disappointment.  And neither of us are in the market for a tattoo.

Getting here was a bit of a pain since I was driving a  new vehicle that I wasn’t completely comfortable with how it all worked.  It has a navigation system, but of course, the default was set to ‘Economy’ not ‘Fastest Route’ so when it came time to get us somewhere, it kept sending us on unfamiliar local routes, that were away from the major highways and byways.  And that takes time, so we spent about 6 hours in Pennsylvania when at most it should have been 4.  Once I finally got the nav system to behave, it got us on the PA Turnpike and that saved a good deal of time and angst.  70 mph will get you where you’re going much faster than two lanes that have 25 & 35 mph zones every time you hit a hamlet.  

When we got to Delaware, we stopped at one of the DOT’s rest stops and had a nice walk through the area before getting back on the road.  While we were there, we called the hotel we booked to be sure they knew we were coming, and not to give our room away.  We didn’t actually hit town until after dark, so it was a little bit of a problem getting to the place, as again the nav system wasn’t well suited for where we were.  But between it, Google Maps and a little cursing, we managed to get to the hotel.  

It’s been a whirlwind several days.  Some ups and downs, and a few headaches along the way, but that’s traveling for you.  Yesterday I was feeling a little homesick, and missing my cat, but I know he’s at the spa and probably having a good time with all the other kitties and puppies there.  At any rate, we’re headed back to New York tomorrow, and we’ll collect him on Saturday.  So we have a little more time here on the coast.  Then it’s back to reality.

Hello, 54.

Another birthday, another year older.

My birthdays anymore are either ones when I work, or I have the day off and I don’t necessarily do much of anything. Certainly nothing like a party here at Casa Leathers, or any sort of organized celebration. Another milestone achieved really. I may get a present, I may not, it depends a lot on whether I mention there’s something I’ve desired, and just haven’t gotten around to purchasing for myself, and the wife gets it for me (except for a motorcycle….not going to get one of those. At least life-sized).

This year, we’ve been needing a new wheelbarrow and we’ve been off and on shopping for it both online and locally. It has needed to have certain aspects to make it good for both of us (not too big, not too small, dual wheels and so on) and not cost $500. Believe it or not, we’ve spent over two weeks looking at prospects and dismissing most of them as either being too expensive, too cheaply made too many bad reviews, or a combination of those. Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, all have nice offerings, but none have really checked off all the correct aspects.

The wife suggested the local Tractor Supply as an option. I went there after work one day and scoured the store, but didn’t find any! How odd. I left without checking with a salesperson (should have known better) and came home to report my findings. Going to the online store presence, I discovered apparently in their ‘stock’ it was listed they had several. So we decided to go back on the ‘day’ of my birthday, to check it out further, instead of ordering one online and having it shipped specially to the store.

Parking outside, we headed towards the door, but my wife stopped us to look at something on the wall, and sure enough, there was the beastie that had eluded me so successfully yet days before. But it was HUUUUGE! Way too big for our purposes. Heading inside, I made my way to the Customer Service counter and spoke to the employee there, informing her that we were in the market, but the one she had outside was too big, and did they having anything similar, but slightly smaller? Looking through her computer terminal, she determined that indeed she did, and someone was in the back assembling them.

Horrors! An assembled ‘barrow won’t fit in the new Murano. Would be way too big. Is it possible to get one unassembled? Sure enough, it was. Although admittedly it surprised her that I asked, most of her customers wanted theirs in one piece, not forty. Up stepped the wife (once I corralled her from the far side of the store) and paid for my present. Transported it out to the vehicle, loaded it up and headed for the ice cream stand/greenhouse to celebrate our victory!

I managed a birthday present and ice cream on the same day! I’d say that was a pretty good score. And I had a project to complete when I got home. Which I did. The wheelbarrow is all together, and sitting in the backyard now…with no pieces missing!

I done good. Happy 54th, Leathers.

Investing for the future

My slave and I had a small conversation this afternoon, that sort of started when I arrived home from running errands with my wife.  It was a continuation of a conversation (after a fashion) she and I had been having over the last few days.  

She’s been having trouble getting used to using Spotify without the fancy doodads that are included with a paid membership.  I’ve been paying for her membership for the most part over the last year.  It ran out sometime in the last week or so, and the lack of the ability to fast forward as well as other expectations were getting to be a little much for her.  There was a veiled mention of the fact this week is National Nurse’s Aide Week, and generally, on those sorts of weeks, the professional or worker in question gets a gift.  Usually from their employer or a spouse, in recognition of the work that the person does and doesn’t necessarily get noticed or rewarded. 

I looked it up and yes it certainly is that particular week, and since none of her family were likely to be moved to give her anything, much less her employer (the CEO sent out a blanket statement to the workforce, thanking them for their hard work, their dedication and so on, basic boilerplate in lieu of anything more substantial, like money for instance) I was intending to extend her Spotify membership anyway, as a reward for all of her hard work and dedication and because sometimes its the right thing to do.  

Of course, I hadn’t done it right away, so there was a text message this afternoon for all intents and purposes pleading with me to re-up ASAP since she was really having a hard time without it.  My response in this instance was typically me “Oy”.   I also made reference to a saying that I have whenever someone says something is driving them crazy.  I would have thought after 3-4 years of knowing me, she would have known about it, and I even suggested she could earn brownie points for it, but no, she didn’t.  I had to clue her in about it.  Again.

Person #1:  I can’t stand it anymore, it’s driving me crazy!

Person #2: Y’know, it’s not so much a long drive, as a short putt.

Yes, I think it’s funny.  Honestly, I don’t care if you don’t.  If you do, woo woo and a ^5.

At this point, I made an off-hand comment about needing to make an Amazon shopping list, since there were several other things I knew she was out of, and with money being tight, unlikely she was going to be getting them anytime soon.  Naturally, once I put one thing in the cart (sunscreen) others started popping to mind that she was going to need in the near future.    At some point, I asked a question I hadn’t inquired about for many months.  Whether or not she had a decent pair of shoes for work.  As expected, the answer was no, she was still wearing ones she got from the dollar store, of all places.  So back to Amazon to seek out a sturdy pair of nurse’s shoes, that will last longer than however long dollar store shoes last.  Five minutes would be my off-handed guess on that one.  

Naturally, I found several possibles, but the designs on them were fairly hideous.  Does no one make shoes in plain white, or black anymore?  After more time than I thought I would spend on this mission, I finally came across a pair of Skechers that would do well.  Made certain of the sizing, and put them in the cart.  

Lastly, I asked about her medications.  In for a penny, in for a pound, right?  After some banter, and back and forth, she admitted that she was out of two important ones that are OTC, and could be ordered from Amazon.  Popped them into the cart, along with some generic Aleve and I was pretty much done.  I added in the Spotify gift card and called it complete.  During the final part of the conversation, we covered the one thing we always do, when she tells me “You don’t have to do this.”   Believe me, slave, I know I don’t have to.  But I also know no one else is going to help out.  You may not be blood, but in a very important manner, you’re my responsibility.   So I do what I can when I can.  If positions were reversed, you’d be doing this as well.  We’ve had that particular conversation more times than I can count.

I closed out the cart and put the shipping information in, my CC info and pressed the ‘Place the Order’ button.  It’s on its way to her and should arrive by Saturday.  I know she’s grateful, I know she’s also a bit melancholy that I had to bail her out again.  Should be a trifecta when she reads this and sees I posted about it.  

In for a penny, in for a pound.  I’m investing in our future.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.