Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Was Hacked

Most companies get hacked. There was an NPR program that highlighted it recently. The guest said that there are two types of companies, 'those that know they have been hacked and know it and those that have been hacked and don't know it'. Well, it happened to my website.

I had a poll last week about how many hours per week salaried people work and by the time it closed I had over 10,000 votes for "less than 35 hours per week". That was the first choice in the poll. What I suspect happened was a robot or other automated program found my website and started clicking on the first option on my poll and kept clicking on it for a long time. Unless someone physically clicked on that 10,000 times, which considering people were only allowed to vote once, is unlikely that someone would go to the trouble of removing the Google cookie to revote that many times. Plus, I only had about 700 visits and 1200 page views while the poll was open which indicates that some sort of automated "hidden" program found my website.

Thus is life. Welcome to the 21st century. You can either be paranoid and upset, accept the loss of security, or a combination of the two. Frankly, I don't really care in this case. If my financials get hacked and I lose money, then I would be upset. On the other hand, if someone would like to take away my debt they can have it. Other than that, I know that my movements around the Internet are tracked and the order that I click buttons is recorded. There is actually a huge boom for people skilled at deriving meaning from "big data". One kid at Brown who is 19 has been tracked by a recruiter since he was 16.  That does not have much to do with being hacked, except that people that you don't know and will never meet know things about you that your friends and family probably don't know. Of course, they don't know that the things they know about you are about you in particular.

For example, people read financial stuff in the morning and evening on their phones and tablets more than a computer, which they use during the day, that hits my habit of checking the financial news directly. But who knew and more directly, how can that be channeled to make a company more money from advertising?

So my friends, you are being tracked and likely hacked, often.

1 comment:

  1. So, if you take out all the "hacked" votes for less than 40 hours per week, it looks like the results would have been that the vast majority stated they worked OVER 40 hours per week! I guess your Aunt is not so stupid afterall!