I just don’t feel safe anymore. Ever since the Internet found out about that huge security breach, Heartbleed. It was something to do with https, right? Whatever that means. I’m not too sure about the specifics, but all I know is, everything’s different now. Nobody’s safe.
When I first heard out about the breach, I thought to myself, I got this, I know what to do. And so I took out a fresh legal pad, I started coming up with all of these new passwords for all of my various online accounts. I try to do it like once every six months anyway, but I thought at first that this was a good thing, that I was ready, like my Internet habits were already pretty solid, you know, at least in terms of security, that this gaping hole the online force field was exactly what I had prepared myself for.
I do all of these crazy passwords, all sorts of acronyms with numbers and letters and random capitalizations. And I keep them all on that legal pad in front of my desk. And each different password is sort of its own separate sentence that, when combined with all of my individual online accounts, turns into this semi-coherent narrative.
It helps with the memorization process. At first I rely on it pretty heavily, reciting to myself the sentences and what keys to press for each word. And after a while, a couple of weeks or a month later, I’m not even thinking about it anymore, it’s like my fingers incorporate the keystrokes into their muscle memory.
This all takes a while, coming up with new passwords, playing them back over and over again in my head. But I did it, I finally came up with the perfect change of online locks. I was actually a little disconcerted to find that, when I attempted to change all of my passwords, my accounts had all told me that it had been over a year since my last password reset.
Had I really let a year slip by? What happened to all of that six month stuff that I was talking about earlier? It’s like the dentist. They call me up every six months to schedule a cleaning, and each time my phone rings, each that I see that 1-800-SMILE-DR pop up on caller ID, I think, what? Six months already? It just doesn’t mesh with the rest of my life. I’m usually a great judge of time, of how long things take. Like if you put a bag of popcorn in the microwave, I can usually predict within ten seconds or so when the timer is going to beep.
But whatever, I changed everything and made it a point to not forget about it again six months from now. Only, and this kind of caught me by surprise. I started getting emails from all of my online accounts. And then I started reading in the newspapers about just how severe this security breach actually was.
“Don’t change your passwords just yet,” was the message I was getting, “because until they figure out how to patch the flaw, you’re just going to be feeding a new password to any potential hackers.”
So that sucked. I had just spent like a good two hours coming up with my own personalized encryption. And it was all for nothing? It’s the worst, because there’s no way I’m going to be able to get myself to commit a similar amount of time to passwords anytime soon. Can you imagine leaving the dentist only to have him call you up a week later?
“Hey Rob, it’s the Smile Doctor. Yeah, I’m actually going to need you to come in for another cleaning this week. Yeah, I know it’s really soon, but trust me, OK, you’re going to want to do it again.”
I’d be like, “Yeah, OK, let me get back to you once I have an idea of what my schedule looks like.” And then I’d hang up and I wouldn’t answer the phone for the rest of the month.
So it’s like, what, now I’ve just got to be resigned to the fact that hackers might have access to my Instagram? My Twitter? That’s terrible. Jeez, I’m just imagining all of my photos and Tweets, and to think, all of that content might be compromised. I don’t know what I’m going to do. How am I ever going to get myself to open up and trust the Internet again? And this blog? How do you even know that I’m the one writing right now? This could all be a sophisticated network of hackers trying to copy my writing style in hopes of luring you into a sense of futility or complacency when it comes to cyber-security.
How can you trust me? How can I trust myself? What about Pinterest, have the hackers gotten into my Pinterest yet? What if they tell everybody that I’m using Pinterest? I feel like I’m looking into an online mirror, and I don’t even recognize my online reflection anymore. What’s happening to my online identity? When is the Internet going to be safe again?