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The Audacity of hackers and scam artists

If your computer has never being hacked into then you’re among the lucky people, if not the very careful ones. But there’s no guarantee that it will never happen to you. Technology is still improving, and it has not yet made it to the perfection stage. I was one of those careful ones. I thought I did every thing right while I’m online. I had installed the latest Norton 360 antivirus protection, took extra care opening attachments even from friends and people I deal with on a regular basis. But I was wrong; we’re all equally vulnerable to the menace of being hacked by rogues and vicious Internet users, who are actively at work trying to invade our privacy. I thought I had the wall of Jericho around me. But that mindset was a myth. My identity was hacked and tons of scam emails claiming to come from me were sent to hundreds of people in my address book bearing misleading information containing virus. It was not pleasant going through this experience. The best virus protection is using your head always and not your emotion whenever online. For antivirus soft wares don’t provide the firewall protection which Internet servers claim to offer. Take action right away when a hacker breaks into your system, stealing your identity. Inform your Internet service provider, paid to provide expert advice and guide you along the safe path to restore your system to normalcy.

On face book I found out that some users too often give out too much information about themselves, which is a recipe and fertile ground for hackers to capitalize on. I got a friend request from a very attractive young girl in Sierra Leone, asking to be my friend. Looking at her picture, and reading so much personal information she posted made me nervous. I fired a question: why do you want to be my friend and do you know me? She responded, no. But she insisted that she wants to be my friend. Her date of birth and appearance seemingly did not sell her story. The softer side of me kicked in. I told her that she could only be my friend if she would tell me the truth, which she did. And I advised her to remove her home phone number, home address and cell phone number on her profile page. Apart from making herself vulnerable to predators, she was also putting her life at risk. Since there have been reported cases of dubious people posing as friends, who are infected with the obsession virus, end up killing their victims after their empty, lustful encounter. I was worried why her prospective friends were mostly men in the Diaspora, who are likely to visit Sierra Leone. She was too flashy to be a student in SL. Where she got her income from to sustain her flamboyant lifestyle is any one’s guess. I was already armed with the truth when I asked her about her career goals, and giving her suggestions. She was very polite and respectful during the process.

In Florida, a group of brazenly audacious hackers had teamed up to hack into some popular websites, including the Police Association website and other state operated sites. The reason is that the Police earlier intimidated that organizations who want to feed the homeless at any of the state parks must secure a permit to do so. Those who violated this ordinance would either be fined or arrested or both. Florida has a growing population of homeless people, due to the economic downturn, particularly its high unemployment turnover, accounting for one of the highest figures in the nation. Current statistics is representative of real people, mostly Caucasians with families, who are suffering and they are not getting the help needed to reverse their desperate situation. The hackers have threatened that if any more philanthropists are fined or arrested for helping the poor and needy, they would again hack into about 8 major websites and bring down the systems. Their words are pointed and well chosen. Seemingly, all of a sudden they have become advocates for the poor and homeless, who cannot do without handouts and free meals. It is against the law, but they are not afraid to flout the law in their crusade to become the voice for the poor and destitute. The hackers believe that the homeless and poor are among us. And seeing them in public is not a pleasant sight, but they should be taken care of and not hidden or ignored. I did not know that hackers have rights to carry out an illegal act in the name of helping those in need, who could be used as scapegoats or puns. Strange things will never cease to happen during these terrible and uncertain economic times.

Roland Bankole Marke 2011

His website is on: www.rolandmarke.com