This post is about a small thing that has changed my view on larger things. It has nothing to do with writing, or perhaps it someday it will; I just have issues thinking about this at this time.
Today I woke up to find a friend on Skype asking me if I had sent her a link or if it was a virus. I was surprised at the question. I hadn’t been online since last weekend and I hadn’t had Skype contact with that friend in a long time. Of course it had to be a virus, but how? I hadn’t touched Skype. I hadn’t clicked on any links. I hadn’t received or downloaded any suspicious software in any of my devices.
After assuring my friend that it hadn’t been me, I noticed that I had new messages in my account. 11 of them. What? I hadn’t touched the program for at least 5 days, but even then, I should have had notifications at least in my phone where I have the app.
I clicked on one of them and I see that it is a new message only because I sent a link. I click on another message, another link. And another. And another. Then I went to an older conversation and I saw that, although there was no notification, I had sent the link to my contact. I kept searching and I had sent the link to every single one of my skype contacts.
But among those 11 notifications, I had one from an unknown contact. It only had the link. I’m guessing that is where the malware came from this unknown, whom I have blocked and will report to Skype once their contact page is up and running again.
I have changed my passwords and started checking the web for similar cases. I looked at solutions and followed steps. I went into the app in my phone and found out that there is a setting where the links that you have been sent can be automatically previewed. I disabled the option, horrified that this might have been their access point.
I think my account is safe once more.
While I was gone from Skype, some malware had taken over my Skype account and I didn’t even have a clue. I apologized to most of my contacts. I’ll try to do it for all.
I feel both embarrassed and angry. I feel violated. I have to admit that my pride is hurt too. This stings, but I know I’m not the first person with this problem, nor will I be the last one.
Even if it is just a small thing, I was used. My privacy was violated. My loved ones could have problems because of my account and the use of it by the malicious person who created the malware.
I hate this feeling of being unprotected. Even though I’m a cautious person, especially when it comes to virus and other suspicious computer activities, I still fell pray to people who mean harm.
Still, this is just a malware. It’s nothing.
As I wrote this post, which had started as a big complaint about bad people and how outraged I was, I stopped looking at my own bellybutton and started thinking beyond me. Compared to what happens daily, everywhere in the world… All the rapes; all the cons played on good, unsuspecting people; all the killings; child kidnappings; all the discrimination… Compared to all those atrocities – and many more I haven’t named– that are destroying people’s lives, this malware is less than nothing.
I know it is a big jump from having issues with a simple communication app to thinking about world problems, but this made me put myself in the shoes of others, and I thought of all the times I felt sad and bad for what happens to other people, yet I have done nothing tangible to help them.
When I found out about this malware attack, I wanted to end the problem, so I took action. I feel ashamed that this doesn’t translate to when it happens to others. By not doing anything, I’m part of the problem.
We all say that getting the world we want starts with us, but many of us stop there. We don’t take action.
This stops now. I’ll find a way to help, even if it is by just providing words of support, or shelter, or food. Every situation is different and will need a different action. I won’t be passive anymore.
I don’t think it is of any use to despair about what I haven’t done so far, so I won’t waste time. Instead, I’ll focus on the future.
It’s never to late to start.
While I was gone, someone chose to hurt people through me, even if it’s just a small way. When I returned, I learned a lesson I hope makes me a better person.