Contact Us    
Computer Intruder

You call him a hacker, I call him a burglar.

by Barnabas
October 6, 2004

Bookmark and Share

I don’t need an epigraph for this essay. You could probably provide one from personal experience.

On Friday our computer had an unwelcome visitor. It sneaked in uninvited under the cover of an offer of free literature. It brought friends (or accomplices) with it and took control of my computer away from me. I lost data and time. By the middle of the third day, I was pricing a replacement computer. Then the local technician became available, entered the computer with his mystic skills, and exorcised the stubborn demon within – for a very modest fee at that.

Some of you are saying I got off easy. These destructive programs have been around the Internet for years, and if this is the first time I have been hit hard I should consider myself blessed. It cost me just a little money and some inconvenience for my family. I should stop whining and grow up. It could have been worse.  

That is one of the more stupid proverbs in the English language. If some young drunks come and party in my house while I’m gone, would you comfort me by pointing out that all they did was throw up on the carpet when they might have kicked out the television screen? It could have been worse.

I'm angry because I am grown up, and know something about what should be tolerated and what should not.  When that hacker got into my computer, he invaded my private space for his own purposes, not mine, and at my expense. Whether it was anonymous mischief for its own sake, or done for profit, he was in the wrong to cause me any expense at all. In no way could it have been an accident. Evil is in the behavior, not the consequences; the evildoer has no control over the consequences, but he is responsible for them whether they are light or heavy.

In our case, I don’t believe this was simply a prank. Shortly after we discovered the problem, the screen began to fill with ads; the intruder had opened the door wide. Several of these ads offered to sell me a program to get rid of ads! The coincidence was too much for me. It was as though I was supposed to say,  "Oh look, I just got this problem on my computer and right away here is the solution, for just twenty-nine ninety-five! Isn’t that timely!" That’s not what I said.

If it happened to me, it’s happening to thousands routinely. Ethically, it’s burglary. Why should we put up with that? If there is no law against it, there ought to be, and the punishments draconian enough to be a deterrent when anyone gets caught.

The search engines and local internet providers share the responsibility for protecting their customers. If they claim not to know how, that's roughly  equivalent to building an apartment house without fire escapes.

Come to think of it, my provider is a Cooperative, and I’m a member.

Post a Comment

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
Computer Intruder
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Barnabas
Barnabas Says Goodbye
Moving on, not moving out.
by Barnabas, 1/19/05
Seats on the Fifty-Yard Line
Yet another American value.
by Barnabas, 1/12/05
Ethical Endgame
When children become sexual slaves.
by Barnabas, 12/15/04
Eighteen Years on Death Row
We have redefined 'speedy trial' and 'cruel and unusual.'
by Barnabas, 12/8/04
Hard on Drugs, Soft in the Head
Legalizing marijuana.
by Barnabas, 12/1/04
Wesley and Wal-Mart
Destructive competition as a stinky enterprise.
by Barnabas, 11/24/04
The Mandate to Govern
Third party time.
by Barnabas, 11/17/04
» Complete List (137)

Recently Published
View Article My Girl Friday
A toast to all administrative assistants
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 6/11/21
Two Giant Hands in Tulsa
Praying for forgiveness and healing
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 6/4/21
To a Field of Dreams
Memorial Day ponderings
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/28/21
Don't Mask! Don't Tell!
It's about time for about face
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/21/21
Liz Cheney's Not Lon Chaney
Why recent events on Capitol Hill resemble a horror show
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/14/21
A Mothers' Day Hymn
Remembering our moms with gratitude to our Heavenly Father
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/7/21
A Crumbling Foundation
What are we to make of Bill and Melinda Gates' divorce?
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 5/4/21

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?

Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2021 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top