in my in-box this morning - from my Twitter feed. It looked a little odd. Someone who rarely appears on my time-line had sent me a message to say that there was a "terrible rumor" about me. A link followed.
I have not clicked on the link. I sent the person whose account sent it a message suggesting her account had been hacked. A little later she had a similar message from someone else. Yes, her account has been hacked.
This makes me mad. It is not funny. It is not irritating or annoying. It is infuriating. It is also theft.
The person who has perpetrated this act puzzles me as much as they anger me. They have almost certainly done this to hundreds, perhaps thousands or tens of thousands of people. They will not know these people personally. They will have done it simply because they can do harm to people, people they do not even know.
It happened to me once. I was not even aware of it until I tried to log into another site and found I had been "blocked for sending spam". Fortunately for me I was able to inform someone I knew at the other end and they rectified the situation. The problem was at their end, not mine but they were not aware of it until I found I had the problem.
I wonder how many times things like this happen without people even being aware of it. My brother-in-law works for a large internet service provider. He tells me it is a constant problem and that, word to the contrary, it is not a matter of changing passwords frequently (although that is probably wise). Hackers have other ways of doing things. His workplace has a team which is dedicated to trying to prevent that sort of thing but it is a constant battle. They do not always succeed.
I kept getting an e-mail from a company in South America. It was written in Spanish - a language I read with some difficulty - but it was clearly from a legitimate source. I tried sending a message to them eventually - in English. It had no effect. I then sent a message in Spanish. My grammar was undoubtedly appalling but it had the desired effect. There were no more e-mails from them. I wondered though how many thousands of e-mails they had unknowingly sent out and how many people had been infuriated by them to the point where they did not want to do business with the company.
I feel sorry for the person whose account has been hacked and I know it could just as easily be me despite taking precautions.
Hackers should be consigned to the underworld.