Saturday, May 7, 2011

Black Hackers vs White Hackers

Last week my best friend’s twelve-year-old grandson sent me an invitation on Facebook to an event where he would teach people how to hack into people’s Facebook accounts. Then he listed all the names of the accounts he had hacked, and said how easy it was. This immediately triggered an alarm, and I posted on his wall that if I found out he was hacking into people’s accounts, I would notify the authorities and he would be arrested.

Not less than ten minutes before my appointment with my therapist last Tuesday, my friend called me on the phone and screamed her head off at me. She told me what her grandson did was none of my business, and that I was only causing family problems. Then she hung up on me and would not take my calls. This made me absolutely furious. I made that post almost a week ago, and the kid’s mother is just now getting around to reading it? Apparently, she does not take too much of an interest in her son’s activities on the internet.
Later that night, I made a post on facebook about what this kid had done. I didn’t use any names—everything was anonymous. All I said was that some misguided twerp had setup an event to show people how to hack into people’s accounts and then listed all the accounts he hacked, and that I had admonished him pretty sternly.

This set off a flurry of posts from people telling me that I did the right thing. I must have gotten twenty responses from people telling me that what I did was right and that the kid deserved to be taught a lesson. Several of my closest friends told me that they would not have warned him at all but simply reported him. I gave the kid a break because he is the grandson of my best friend. The next day I found my best friend had taped my spare keys to my door, meaning our friendship was over.
Although I ripped the kid apart for his stupidity, I did not use any real names. However, his mother took it upon herself to jump into the thread to defend her child. At that point, his identity was revealed, and I immediately backed out of the conversation.

All this happened while I was waiting to see my psychiatrist. I told him the story, and that I was pretty rattled, and had so many mixed emotions over what happened because I felt it was my duty to say something to this kid, but at the same time I lost one of my closest friends. My doctor could see how agitated I was, and asked me if I would like to check myself into the inpatient clinic for a couple of days. I asked him if I could think about it, and he told me to wait outside and he would be back in about twenty minutes.
I had been suffering from depression for weeks, and then the added stress of losing my best friend put me in uncharted waters. I didn’t feel as though I were in danger of hurting myself; it’s just that the thought of going back to an empty apartment in my current state of mind did not feel safe. I needed to disconnect from the situation for awhile and be in a place where I didn’t need to think so much, so when my doctor came back I told him I would like to check myself in.

They processed me, gave me a strong sedative, and I was taken into the clinic. This was my first stay in a mental ward, so I had no idea what to expect. It was dirty, the bathrooms were disgusting, the beds were uncomfortable and the food was surprisingly good.
I slept the entire day on Thursday all the way into Friday morning. They woke me up only to be interviewed by my doctors. I explained to them what led me to make my decision to commit myself, and they understood. I also made it clear that I was not a danger to myself or others; I just needed a break from the world.

By the time Friday morning rolled around I was going out of mind with boredom, and could not stand being in this place a moment longer. When it came time for my doctors to interview me, they told me that my primary physician recommended that I stay the weekend. I told them that would do more harm than good, because I could not stand it here and wanted to go home, do some writing, and pick up my children on Saturday.
They told me I could file a 72-hour Petition for Release because I admitted myself voluntarily, and that they would not fight it because they did not feel I was dangerous to myself or anyone else; however, they were concerned about me being alone over the weekend. I assured them I would be fine.

I was eventually released, and I went home and slept a couple of hours. Today I feel pretty good. Last night I talked with a good friend who knows the computer business inside and out. He knew the story about what happened with this kid, and he told me he would have reported him—no questions asked.

We talked quite awhile about it, and he explained that “script kiddies” did the most damage on the internet, and wreaked havoc with viruses, Trojans and ways they find to hack into people’s computers.  He has zero tolerance for it, just like all my friends on facebook who responded to my original post. He told me there were two kinds of hackers—black hackers and white hackers. Black hackers hack into other people’s computers for nefarious reasons. White hackers hack into their own computers to increase their knowledge. White hackers are the enemy of black hackers, and without them, we would not have the level of security we now have. But it’s a never ending battle.
I have since taken the original post down because this kid’s mother made his identity public, and I do not want to be involved in that mess. My friend told me if this kid hacked into anybody’s accounts like he said he did, because he made it so public, you can damn well bet the FBI will show up at his door and he will be taken out in handcuffs along with his mother. Computer hacking is a Federal offence and there is no age limit. He will go to Juvenile Hall and his mother will be liable for any damages he incurred. She may also be charged with Criminal Negligence for not monitoring her son’s activities.

So, what started out as the best of intentions turned into a complete mess and I ended up having an emotional meltdown. Basically, I was standing on a house of cards that was destined to come apart, but the one thing I learned most from all this is that a mental ward is the last place I want to be.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

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