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Is Hacking the New Graffiti?

So, recently the site I have under my name was hacked.  If you went to beckydonohue.com, over the last couple of days, all of the info sections – bio, press kit, videos, blog links – all gone.  A funky song also played under the site.  I suppose the little ditty was the calling card of the hacker.  His version of a mint on the pillow.  Now, I don’t use beckydonohue.com for much.  It’s mainly a static site at this point.  In the future it will be re-designed to reflect my real portfolio (the one there is several years old and not indicative of my current work).  It will also reflect the work from this blog, potentially my book, and a couple of  other projects I have working.  But, right now, it’s a static place for my comedy.  Regardless, I don’t want it swaying in the breeze with its pants down, as it was post-hack.  I, unfortunately, think that getting hacked in this day and age if you have any kind of online presence is inevitable.

 

Now, I can’t get into the psyche of a hacker.  To me, it just seems like they go into things that are not theirs to go into and they feck them up.  I don’t know how to get involved in nor analyze that mindset.

 

But, to them, I think it seems different.  I suppose they see themselves as teaching the luddites among us a valuable lesson.  They fancy themselves renegades and rebels of the cyber minefield we’re all trying to navigate in our own ways.  A hacker says to himself, “See, you left your bicycle lock open.  So, now I’m gonna take your bike.  That will teach you to lock it up next time.”  Is that what they’re thinking?  Sometimes you hear of Hackers like Anonymous taking down big corporate websites to make a point in regards to social issues.  I almost get that.  However, they don’t only go after the big guys.  Other times, like with my site, it seems more like some lonely guy sitting in his basement with WAY too much time on his hands fecking things up.

 

It’s a bit like graffiti, isn’t it?  You could make the argument that certain forms of graffiti are art and that they’re created by brilliant, creative, artists.  A hacker is nothing if not a bit of a computer genius.  Yet, on the other hand, other versions of tagging or graffiti simply look like attempts to feck things up.

 

Which one looks like art to you?  To me, one is definitely art and the other nonsense.

 

 

A lot of the objectivity that one possesses in regards to the graffiti vs. art argument (and the hacker vs. genius argument) has to do with whether or not it happens to you.  I’ve actually had a friend of a friend say to me, “Can you believe people are worried about cyberbullying and cyberstalking?”  I said to her, “Yeah, I can.  Clearly, you don’t do many things online.”  If she did, I think it would give her more pause.  It’s one thing for a company or a large entity to get harassed, it’s totally another for it to happen to a vulnerable kid.

 

To stretch the analogy a bit, when I would see certain graffiti artists in Manhattan, often I have enjoyed their work.  Until…until, it was on my building.  And then I actually felt for the landlord and the super who had to repaint over the front door, literally, once a week.  I remember coming home one time and actually smelling the fresh paint from the spray can that had just been used to tag my front door.  I remember thinking, “If I catch this fecker, I’m going to give him a what-for.”  Now, most people wouldn’t get involved with a New York city tagger.  But, I would have.  I mean, the people in my building worked hard and our building was expensive.  We were all struggling to get by, just like the people in the tagger’s building.  But, did the vandals care?  No, they just thought, “How can I feck this up?”  Is graffiti funny?  Social Commentary?  Kids just expressing themselves?  It could be.  Until it happens to you…then it just seems like a pain in the ass.

 

What I liked was my “team’s” response to the hack.  And yep, I would say I have a team.  I have a web-hosting company that I trust.  I can actually get them on the phone, 24/7, and they respond to my needs without me having to pay them to do every little thing.  My web designer is the same way.  His company is Royal Deer Design and I swear, if you’re looking for web design and coding services, he is your guy.  Why?  Well, because he’s good and because when my website hit the hacked-fan, he fixed the thing, pretty fast, and without a massive charge.

 

If you’re going to self host anything, you need a good team.  If you ever think about moving off of WordPress.com, you MUST have people with more knowledge than yourself around you.  Without it, your blog or site is the equivalent of a jewelry store with no alarm system.  But, I digress.  Back to our collective response.  I told my web hosting girl about the hack and she laughed.  I told my web designer and he laughed.  Then I started laughing and we all fixed the hack.  No one got bent out of shape.  No one lost their minds.  We just shrugged and fixed it.  Simple.

 

A website disruption feels stupid like someone pulling the chair out from under you when you go to sit down and of course (especially if you make money off of your sites) a hack is inconvenient, but in the end, you deal with it and you move on.

 

Welcome to life in the new, tech-age.

 

The hacks will come, but it’s how you deal with them that shows whether or not you will remain online.

 

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Sweet Mother is updated daily-ish.  If you’d like to receive an email when new content is published, simply click the follow link at the top of the blog.

 

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33 thoughts on “Is Hacking the New Graffiti?

  1. That sucks. I don’t understand going after someone who’s just trying to do her own thing, make a living. I mean, are they thinking “Wow, I sure showed that completely normal person who’s trying to make their way in the world. Yea for me!” Lame.

    1. oh believe me, i find it lame too. but, such is the new internet world, me thinks. hey, did you get my email about stand up? sorry to be such a downer if i was. you’re funny and you should TOTALLY do it. you just may be speaking to the wrong person, in regards to it. any time my friends and i see a new stand up doing well on stage, we say to each other, “there goes another life ruined.” loool. because while it’s a very fun activity it’s also a rat race. in every sense of the word. much love, sm

      1. I did. It was helpful in the sense that I just got to get up there and do it. And don’t worry, I’ll likely won’t do well and even if by sheer luck I do, I’m too much of a hermit to ever leave my home.

      2. i think you will do well. and that will cause you to ruin the next ten years of your life with open mics!! trust, this girl knows! it’s almost worse when the person is funny, like yourself. lol. anyway, it’s at an auburn theater, right? that’s the best possible place to do stand up. people will be focused and they will give you a lot of love. i would avoid the places i often do stand up – biker bars where the clientel have just been released from prison and haven’t seen p*ssy in years. it’s just not the best place for ‘focus’ and ‘appreciating art’. and i refuse to fix my spelling of clientel. you’ll do great. or well. you know what i mean. xoxo, sm

  2. SM,
    Hacking is often a power trip. I mean, like graffitis, sometimes the message is a worthy one, as its medium. But often enough, it’s more of a : look what I can do with a black can of spray paint all over your website…. And these “graffiti artists” give a bad name to the real artisans…
    Le Clown

    1. a lot of truth said there, le clown. a lot of truth said there… it was a pain in the ass. especially, while traveling. i feel lucky that i selected the right people to watch over these things, because i couldn’t have done it. truly. your fp’d saga is hilarious… xoxo, sm

      1. SM,
        The FP’d saga, well put my friend. A new flavour of the month of as next week. Hugs, friend.
        Le Clown

      2. hugs back, my dear. you’ll probably get fp’d on canadica, which will drive you absolutely insane. looooollll. stay strong, brother. it’s a comin’ for you. that’s how we talk when ‘the hills have eyes’ over here. sigh. xo, sm

      3. SM,
        The process of getting FP’d is as entertaining to Le Clown as foreplay… Getting there is more fun than actually reaching paroxysm. I speak the truth. No point in arguing. Now let me just turn around and fall asleep. Don’t touch me.
        Le Clown

  3. How about computer viruses? Three times in my life I’ve had to have computers completely re-formatted because some idiot thought it was clever to create something like that.
    I don’t get this pleasure in destruction. In making fun of people, sure, but not destruction. If they wanted to be amusing, couldn’t they come up with a virus that for 24 hours every time you touched the mouse a nude picture popped up and disappeared? No real harm and it’s kind of funny.
    But to just destroy and basically cause harm and expense for no reason?

    1. such is the goal of hackers i’m afraid. oh…and they do do the nudey thing. a common hack is to re-route the site to porn. i think that was done to the sesame street site recently. and then there’s ‘rick rolling’. google that one to discover that insanity. it is, quite literally, the new world we live in. i assume that my stuff is going to get hacked and that there will be trolling/ shitty comments. i just assume it because if you grow your stuff big enough, it will happen. although, get a mac. that helps to ward out most computer viruses. they don’t get them at the same rate as pcs. i think i’d go nuts if i had a pc…

  4. This steams my broccoli. Makes me wanna go all Cuisinart on those cabbage heads. How was that for my Iron Blogger impersonation? I’ve been trying to tone down my tough guy image, but still keep my edge. :) seriously joking:)
    It’s impressive how you kept your cool about this and just dealt with it. That’s really all we can do until someone invents a super sonic laser pingback that fire a shtstorm at them elfers. sorry, I got a little carried away there. :)

    1. omg, ‘invents a super sonic laser pingback that fires a shtstorm at them elfers.’ ohhhhh, lawd, lawd, woman. i love you. seriously. don’t ever tone anything down EVER. all one can do is ‘remain calm and carry on.’ to quote a feckin’ poster. sigh. but, ’tis the truth. much love, sm

  5. Moms, that’s terrible! I wonder what possesses these people to do this and why/what they gain from doing so. It’s like bullying, stealing and all those nasty things that small-minded people do. Glad everything worked out. I keep considering putting up a website to show my freelance work and now your post has shown me the absolute necessity of hiring the right people who, as you said, “know more than you do.” Thanks for that!

    1. it’s so important, brigitte. just like i think it IS important to have a website under your own name to showcase your freelance work or your portfolio, as you mentioned, it’s also SUPER important to hire the right people. If you happen to check out daniel at royal deer, tell him I sent ya. All the best, sweet mother

  6. Sweet Mom this not only sounds bad but scary too…the whole hacking thing can be a big trouble..you are right about a webdesign team though…
    i work in on such company though i have no site of my own and i hardly know any coding, but i do spend a lot of time with web designers..,..these techie guys can save the day

  7. They got into my twitter account and sent all my contacts direct messages with viruses. I changed my password. They did it again. I changed my account name AND my password. Bastards.

    1. ugh, wendos. that sucks. i try to not use the same passwords across things, but then several things happen – i forget my password or i realize it doesn’t matter anyway because sometimes these hackers do these big hacks of citibank or whatever and display everyone’s passwords anyway. sigh. i think it’s just a sign of the times. much love, sm

  8. This makes me want to loan you my very best cowboy boots so you can kick them in the azz so hard they wear it as a hat for a week. Hackers suck, they have no real lives, not even lives on the net so they must steal others to feel as if they are real. They have their heads so far up their own posteriors they are able to lick their nips from the inside.

    Do you think I am hacked off by hackers? I am, they are in the same class as ID thieves.

    Feckers.

    If you want my best boots let me know.

    1. val, i’m pretty much in agreement. i’m trying to be diplomatic about it, so i’m trying not to go there, for myself, that is. but, LAWD knows i want those boots. one interesting thing, i think i would’ve been more ticked off about it, if i hadn’t had this blog. if it had happened before i started sweet mother. so, there’s something good about ‘diversifying’ so to speak. that way if someone breaks into your ‘cyber house’ you still have several other houses to live in, so to speak. anyway, that’s my current thought on it. but, believe me, i also need a good boot from time to time. much love, sm

  9. I hate sounding like a snob but the world is full of wannabes who have more ego than talent. Commiserations on getting hacked Mum but I’m glad you’re handling it so well.

  10. Oy, Momma, that sucks. I’m not sure I see the appeal of hacking other than a power thing: “Look what I can do.” It’s like vandalism. I haven’t read the comments here yet but I guess a lot of folks have already noted that it’s an issue of control and power over someone else. I’m sorry you got hacked, and I’m glad there was no huge harm done. Too bad there’s no way of booby-trapping websites with spikes and poisoned darts and stuff.

    1. clowny said almost the exact same thing and i think you are both right. i think, though, you have to not take it personally in this day and age (even if it might be!) because it happens to most people that do business on the internet from what i can see. still sucks tho. sigh. xo, sm

  11. Man, that’s annoying. I really don’t get why people have to do that sort of thing. I mean, it’s one thing to just leave a message saying your password isn’t strong enough, but wipe everything out? Not cool. I suppose that’s one way to get a fresh start when you’re needing an update

    1. that’s a good way to look at it, steph. at least it made me see that that account or site, shouldn’t be so static and unchanging. it will definitely make me check it more. and that’s probably a good thing, in the long run. much love, sm

  12. Well, as for your two examples of graffiti, the first is more like a gang tag than simple graffiti. There is graffiti to make a statement and graffiti to mark territory. Thinking of Hackers as a type of graffiti makes some sense. But the hack you experienced doesn’t seem like either type. I think you have it right with someone in mom’s basement playing around. Given the hacking skills out there, I might even guess that it was a kid that should still be living with mom and dad.

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