Technical

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.

 

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?

Kee Klamps

When it comes to buying kinky toys, I have a weakness.  I may not be able to play as regularly as I like (meaning hardly ever) but that doesn’t mean I’m not well supplied when the time comes.  Too, if I can build something instead of buying it, I’m not averse to that either.  Fortunately (or un), not everything can be purchased or easily shipped, or even stored in its most useable form.

With that in mind, places like hardware stores, big-box hardware retailers like Lowes and (Dom) Home Depot come in very handy.  A term was coined many years ago (30+?); ‘pervertables‘, normal everyday items that can be used in a kinky fashion, but the manufacturers of said items probably never dreamed they could be perverted to what their eventual use became.

Most people use the term when it comes to household items like wooden spoons, or clothespins (pegs), pins/needles, hairbrushes, wood clamps, there are literally thousands of items that can be used for more than their intended purpose, and can be enjoyed by both kinky and vanilla when it comes to bedroom (and other) places.

0Case in point.  For quicker methods of building furniture, I offer for consideration Kee Klamps.  It’s a shortcut to the expense of learning how to weld, as one can use the connectors like an adult version of Tinker Toys™.   And they’re rather easily available, and once built can be disassembled as easily as they’re put together.  Considering they can be made into things like railings, furniture (including the base of a bed or pillory) or as an addition to something else, it wouldn’t take very long to create many kinky fabrications that are not only sturdy, but cost a lot less than having someone else make it and either have it shipped to you assembled, or disassembled.

As of right now, I just have thoughts in my head of what I might build, since the probability of having someone nearby to use it with, is unfortunately remote.

Stay tuned for when that changes though.  The game is afoot!

Upgrading the playspace

I’ve been using a section of my basement for a play space for the past 20 years. Before that, we lived in another house and there too I utilized part of the basement area for BDSM play. There are other portions of this house that could be used for that purpose, but as it happens so infrequently (hopefully something that will be changing in the near future) dedicating a certain area and decorating, as well as outfitting it for that eventual/expected activity always seemed to be a waste of funds, time and effort.

A couple of months ago I had a new playmate over to the house for a session, and we used the basement. Seeing as it was November and getting colder outside, in the area it was about 62-63°F (16-17°C) which for clothed people was all well and good, but for someone with limited clothing, it wasn’t exactly ideal. Having considered that issue in years past, I had purchased a space heater that works off of 1 lb propane bottles and is rated for indoor use. Unfortunately, it hadn’t been used in probably 6 years or more, so when I went to light the pilot, nothing happened. I fiddled around with it for a few minutes, determining that the bottles of propane that I had were still viable, it was just there wasn’t anything for the pilot to light. So, for the time being, we made do best that we could, but the play session was somewhat abbreviated due to the chilliness of the basement. Moving the whole shebang upstairs wasn’t going to work as there wasn’t any space set aside for that purpose, so I made a note that I was going to have to do something before another session occurred. As it happened, that may not be for at least a few more weeks, due to the new playmate’s schedule, and mine not meeting up in an acceptable fashion. If anything, it gives me time to make things better for the next occurrence.

This morning, having the day off from work, and armed with information that I’d gleaned from YouTube about cleaning the space heater, I set to work with Q-tips, rubbing alcohol and a can of compressed air. After using a paper towel and water to clean the accumulated dust and cobwebs off the heater, I used the compressed air canister to blow air into the vents, and give it a bit of a going over trying to get it as clean as possible on the outside. Once that was accomplished, I set to work with the Q-tips and alcohol, using one to clean out the tube where the propane is supposed to come out and be lit by the ignitor. Again using the compressed air canister, I cleaned out the tube a bit more with a few well-spaced air blasts and re-attached the propane canister, checking to be sure the connection was ok before turning on the unit and pressing the ignitor. Voila! Success! The pilot lit on the first try. It did take me a few minutes to get the hang of when to switch the heater over to get the ceramic heating tile lit and beginning to warm. Once that had been accomplished, I was able to repeat the process a few times committing it to memory so I didn’t have to consult the instructions over and over. According to the instruction booklet, this heater should be able to adequately warm an area of approximately 200 sq ft (18.5 sq m) without too much trouble. Not being sure exactly how big that was, I eventually determined it was approximately the area of a one-car garage. So the heater should do the trick for the area I was going to be using. In theory.

Another issue I want to address is the floor. Seeing as it is a basement and has a rudimentary poured concrete floor, (probably created sometime in the 1950s or 60s) and the walls are made out of fieldstone with 19th-century mortar; it’s naturally rather chilly there most of the time. Too, it’s not necessarily the most accommodating of spaces when it comes to throwing whips and storing toys. More than once I’ve lamented over the fact that I store my spanking bench there, with its leather padding. I’ve been fortunate so far in that it hasn’t mildewed over the years but adding more toys of the same vein I can’t guarantee one of them might suffer that fate. Certainly one can get furniture re-padded and so on, but if you can keep it from happening in the first place, that’s actually a better idea. In my travels on Amazon, I happened to stumble upon a semi-solution for the floor issue. There’s interlocking padding one can purchase that isn’t too expensive and it can insulate the floor a bit, as well as make it hospitable for bare feet, or even stockinged feet. Certainly, I don’t wish to spend too much in that area if in time I move the play area upstairs, but for the time being, it’s not a bad idea to make it a bit more hospitable for those that are going to be gracing me with their presence.

Besides, don’t get me started on the iron maiden.

Used Cars

Since 2000 my wife and I have been leasing vehicles.  Before that, we each had our own respective vehicle that we brought into the marriage.  She had a 1987 white Chrysler LeBaron convertible and I had a 1987 brown Ford Bronco II that I had purchased used.  I practically drove it into the ground, even though it had better than 87,000 miles on it when I bought it in 1990.  Somewhere around 1999 I sold it as a junker, someone had seen it parked by the side of the road and offered me (as I recall) about $1200 for the hulk.  Since it had been sitting for the better part of 4-5 months I figured ‘what the hell’  and accepted the offer.  The guy showed up the next day with a trailer, hauled it up, paid the money, I gave him the signed registration card and the deal was done.  At that point we went from 2 vehicles to 1.  And it’s been that way for the last 20 years.

Over the last year or so, I’ve been pondering getting a used car for travel to see my girl.  As it stands right now, in order to get down to where she lives, I have to either drive the family vehicle or rent one for the time needed to see her.  The last time I rented, it cost me close to $800 for the 4 days I needed the car.  The last time I saw her in 2018, I drove the Edge that we had.  Of course, if I have the vehicle, then the wife is left stranded without one, and in case of emergency, that’s not a good thing in a semi-rural area.  Sure there are taxis and other forms of transportation available in extreme circumstances (Uber and Lyft don’t exist in my area for the time being) but I’d feel better if she needed a vehicle, she’d have one at her disposal.

The other thing that has gotten me thinking about used cars is the fact that the vehicle my girl has right now is a hole in the road.  It seems every week there’s something else wrong with it that’s going to take $$ to fix, and she just doesn’t have the available, necessary funds to keep pouring into it.  She got the vehicle from her sister, who sold it to her on a payment plan, and now the vehicle is paid for.  Too, it has four almost new tires, the suspension in the front has almost been entirely replaced, as well as new shocks and other items that have been related to me over the many months.  I’m beginning to wonder if by the time I see her again it will be an updated version of the Johnny Cash song ‘One Piece At A Time‘.  But in this case, it will have cost way more “than a dime”.

This is going to be an ongoing thing, but right now, I’m looking at used cars.