There may be nothing a webmaster fears more than a complete loss of their work, their domain, or the accumulated SEO and traffic. David Airey’s recent bout with a domain stealing cracker reminded me of existing dangers. The cracker used an exploit with G-mail to initiate a domain transfer. When Airey emailed the thief, he was met with taunts and demands for money for the domain. This was a shock to my sense of safety online.
It makes me think of my stolen bicycles. One was recently taken from my front porch. It seemed to be worth the risk not messing with locking it there since I’m in a quiet small town neighborhood. Now I view certain people I see with a suspicious nature. Years ago when I lived in various places around Ohio State University in Columbus, another bicycle was my way of getting around. I was amused by the sophisticated and costly efforts people went through to protect their bicycles. They would double check the solid bar locks, carrying removable wheels to class, looking nervously over their shoulder at their prized possession as they walked away from the bike rack, wondering if anyone standing around was “casing” the situation waiting with a pair of bolt cutters in their backpack.
Slave to Bicycle Fashion?
No way I was going to be a slave to a new lightweight polished collection of aluminum and rubber. Instead I found an old beat up but solid bike with wide tires, no gears, a worn seat and rusty rims. I dubbed it the ‘Curb Smasher.’ It was perfect for me, got me around campus easily and I would just dump it off and walk away without any concern. With all the other shiny bikes around, no thief gave it a second look. I never locked it up for 4-5 years. Honestly, I expected it to be stolen all that time and considered it something of a miracle that I could go over to a friends house, stepping off nonchalantly letting it crash in the front yard, knowing it would be there when I left that evening. I enjoyed that level of trust in an area otherwise rift with crime. Being carefree has always been my preferred state of mind. After a few years of good luck, that bike was eventually stolen. That was upsetting since I had grown attached to it. Yet, I wouldn’t trade those carefree days for anything. Or have I?
I now mostly lock up the things I value, though my lapse with the bike on the porch didn’t work out. I used to go about without a care for what ill intent strangers may have for me or my stuff. Now I catch myself with thoughts like “What has the world come to?” I believe people are inherently good, though their goodness may be covered up and distorted by some feeling of lack or upset. Becoming aware of these unenlightened people (or should I call them thugs?) makes me react with an increase in security and an adjustment of my view of the worlds dangers. Confucius said “The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered and his states and all their clans are preserved.”
I now have a bicycle in my living room. I think it gives it a cool bachelor pad look…
Is the Internet World Good? or Bad?
So what is there to take away from David Airey’s story? There are people out there who have short circuited their good nature and will take everything from you if they get a chance. I’m going to take a hard look at how I use social email, maybe only only exposing small risks there, like my old bicycle. And I take heart that a greater number of good people were friendly to David Airey who chipped in with suggestions. This eventually led to the people at GoDaddy sorting it out for him.
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