We Are Being Replaced!
As I’m writing this, I’m simultaneously checking my emails for the confirmation that my latest request for an investigation into yet another hacking, is undergoing the necessary processing.
Back in 2010, I was basking in the blinding glow of all-things Apple. The iPhone 4 was the birthday present from my boyfriend at the time, and I had excitedly purchased myself a brand new MacBook, a couple of years before.
I was also fully immersed in the phenomenon of worldwide engagement with the reuniting of old contacts, and the new entries that I added with the hope that I would eventually get to know them better.
It was an exciting time!
It was the beginning of the avalanche of content from every source imaginable, and the trickery was delivered in the appealing bundles that replaced the effort it takes to track down information, or a beloved friend from high school who meant that much.
We never considered the real and present danger of naively and countlessly supplying the digits that formulate the personalized code of our existence.
And before we knew what the fuck we were actually doing, that’s when shit hit the fan, and splattered all over the debris of our systemic violation.
The monumental attack on our democracy during the 2016 elections, via the hotspot of Facebook, and notorious hackers, from Cambridge Analytica, who posed as the London-based consulting firm, that was established in 2013, for the dutiful evil of hawking purchased data to the highest bidder — was just the tip of the iceberg.
As this epic (for good reasons and plenty of bad) decade comes to dramatic end, it’s hard not to be enraged by how damn easy it was to lure us into this victimized state, that’s going get a whole lot more threatening, as we recklessly approach the next frontier.
2019 has presented the graphic blueprint of what life is going to be like, and the reviews are staggeringly problematic at best.
We are inundated with nonstop circulation of alarming articles that detail the escalation of cyber attacks, and how the invaluable currency of our privacy has depreciated beyond recovery.
In the summer of 2018, my Instagram account was hacked.
It was the first time that I felt the inherent panic and fright at the audacity of a stranger’s ability to lock me out of my own account, by gaining access to information that we believed was secure with one-of-a-kind logins.
But as it turns out, even those creative passwords that contain letters, numbers and characters that platforms verify as “strong,” aren’t remotely able to protect and serve the best interests of avid users, who are paying a high price for the level of engagement that was meant to ultimately ruin us.
Most of us are well-versed in the crippling minefield that stores the kind of shit that can literally get us killed by our own hand, and the fingers that do all the work.
I have had the displeasure of replacing two debit cards, within the span of two months, due to the increasing incidents of fraud that seem to mostly target bank cards as opposed to credit cards. And through that inconvenience, I was privy to how credit credits have a much more secure shield, compared to the more vulnerable debit and ATM cards.
I considered switching banks, but the rep at the fraud protection department of my institution assured me that this epidemic will follow me anywhere I go because fraudsters aren’t picky.
But, I am still trying to build my credit after a terrifically bad idea to move to New Orleans back in 2013, turned out to be the worst decision of my life. It catapulted into the accumulated debt that I basically spent my adulthood avoiding.
And of course since finding full-time employment with the benefits package that we unknowingly took for granted when it was everywhere, is the relentlessly impossible mission, the likelihood that I will return to the safer bet of credit cards is less than zero.
It’s hard not to take shit personally when the bullseye on your back seems to be roomy enough to host the growing trend of hacking, that always hits too close to home.
Take for instance the recent nightmare of greeting another day with a message on WhatsApp, from my concerned brother, who didn’t know what to make of what I sent him this morning.
When I read it, a chill went down my spine. It definitely was sent from my account, but guess what?
I didn’t send it.
I almost wanted to blame the fact that I had my phone in the pocket of my coat while I was shopping for groceries after the gym, because of how the unlocked screen gets you in trouble.
But then my mom also got the same message about “poop,” which meant that this was a sick joke by a hacker who is capable of God knows what, since he/she has access to my phone number and contacts.
So far, my sleuthing has uncovered that this asshole is Nigerian because of the “AaaAaaa” which is an expression that we use as an exclamation for extra effects.
But that’s where my expertise ends.
Ironically enough, I wasn’t sold on the genius of WhatsApp, until family members forced activity, for the sake of being able to escape the fraud of calling cards by seamlessly messaging relatives based in Lagos, Abuja, etc.
I’ve read a plethora of articles based on the google search that pulls up what you need to know if your WhatsApp account has been compromised, and it was enlightening to read a 2014 article, where the writer was adamant about the invincibility of the then four-year app, that’s owned by Facebook.
The more recent offerings are quite clear about how and why WhatsApp has finally succumbed to the robust climate of digital warfare, but while the testimonies and warnings are convincing enough, readers really don’t walk away feeling hopeful for the present or future.
We are being replaced!
Robots are doing our jobs, and our identities are being stripped with the mandate that we won’t be able to successfully align our credentials against our own DNA.
Every minute of every day, as we walk around with the falsehood of how we’re secure in what we are and how we got there, there’s an operation happening in real time, that will surely erase what we’ve always known to be true.
Paranoia is the only solace in this journey that leads to everywhere, but where we need to be.
But while we wait for the dreaded unknown: