Sunday, my alarm began going off at 5 a.m., and by 5:45, I was seriously considering getting out of bed. Tilly was snuggled tight into a ball, not wanting to be disturbed, and though I had to be a church early to practice for my reading part in the morning’s worship services, I had more than an hour to get ready. So I decided to check my email.
I opened the email app on my iPhone from bed and noticed I had more than 30 unread emails just since the evening before. Has my blog gone viral? I ask myself, hoping. As I began perusing the subject lines, however, I realized the situation was far more sinister. Each of those 30 unread emails was an out-of-office message or a system-undeliverable message for emails sent from my account. But not by me.
I’d been hacked.
Around 8:30 a.m., another round of emails was apparently sent out, each one listing a URL address hyperlinked to websites I would never visit. I received back more than 40 undeliverable messages that time.
Then personal emails began rolling in from friends who were questioning whether I would send them such a message. People stopped me at church. Later that day, my mom asked me about it when I was at her house. Some had received a similar message before and knew right away what had happened. Others worried I might have infected them. A few, only slightly suspicious, wondered why I didn’t include a message in the Subject line.
“You always include a subject line,” one friend said.
“I know. You often don’t even need to read the email my subject lines are so thorough,” I joked.
After a little research, I found that my email account had been accessed world-wide by “mobile users” in places like the United Kingdom, Russia, and the Philippines. My email provider informed me that they have experienced wide-spread problems, and even included a simple solution to fix the problem right on their frequently-asked-questions page.
By evening, I had enough information so that I could send back a reply to everyone who had contacted me personally: “Someone hacked into my yahoo account. I think I have isolated the problem for now. Sorry for your trouble.” It didn’t seem like enough after all of the stir it caused. Yet, I wasn’t sure what else to do.
I was a victim; I was falsely accused. I had to suffer the consequences of someone else’s sin. I even had to make amends.