Wait! But I’m Huge In Russia! ~ The Price of Fame
*I think this applies to making ANYTHING!
“Yep, that’s malware”, said the security guy, Manny, with a voice dripping sardonic conviction.
This was last Friday. I had been locked out of my website, the very one you’re on right now, on Monday—only to be hacked the next morning. Fix. Reappear. Fix. Reappear…you get the picture.
“Let me pass you back to your hosting site.” That is an example of a condescending tech dismissal. A nice way of saying I’m too important to talk to you about your unfounded malware suspicions. You think you have a security issue but malware is a big deal lady and you’re not…so go away.
Finally, on Friday, my hosting site determined it “might” be malware and called in the big guns to verify.
“I doubt this is malware but let me take a look…” said a very skeptical Manny at nine am on Friday morning. After a substantial amount of humming and hawing, he put me on hold.
I put him on speaker.
9:08 am —
After spitting a mouthful of coffee back in the cup, “Yes?”
“We’ve determined your site is the victim of a targeted attack.”
“What? An attack? Can it?…” “Please hold,” he said abruptly, cutting me off.
An attack? That sounded…overreacty. Wait. wasn’t overreacting supposed to be MY job.
9:10 AM —
Barry Manilow abruptly stopped singing right in the middle of Mandy, followed by the sound of several voices in the background. “Yep, that’s malware.”
“Well I’m glad you’ve reached a consensus”, I said referring to the repeated holding and all the background voices.
“Nevermind. Is this like ransomware?”
“Has anyone asked you for money ma’am?”
“No, I mean, just you guys…to fix it I mean.”
“Then no. It’s malware.”
I could hear the clicking sounds of him typing furiously on a keyboard.
“This is a targeted attack. They set it up to reinfect you every twenty-four hours. What kind of website did you say this is?”
“I didn’t…say that is.” SILENCE “It’s uh, nothing too subversive. It’s, it’s…observational humor.”
“Right.” The furious typing on his end continued until he put me on hold for the third time, subjecting me to the instrumental version of a Chaka Khan song.
9:32 AM —
“Ma’am, as you’ve probably already noticed, (I hadn’t) we’ve instructed the hosting site to take your webpage offline temporarily until we can figure out the extent of the attack.”
“Wow, uh, okay…you keep saying attack. Was it Russia?” I chortled, trying to lighten the mood.
“Probably.” His typing continued.
“Wait, what? It was…no!…It was Russia?!…Wait…I’m huge in Russia!”
Different blog posts have been featured on an online Russian psychology magazine for over a year (I know. It doesn’t make sense to me either) and I can tell in my analytics when an article comes out because people from all over that region click onto the link attached to The Observer’s Voice.
When it happens, which is about once a month, it never ceases to amaze me. I always remark to my husband, Look, Belarus! And a couple of the Stans! They’re reading my words! What a small world!
And his reply is always the same “You’re HUGE in Russia!”
Manny didn’t skip a beat. “That’s the price of fame” he replied.
“Somebody wants to silence you,” he said. “It happens all the time.”
“Story of my life!” I yelled without thinking. “Well, they can just get in line!”
Manny laughed. You guys don’t understand. Manny was as dry as wallpaper paste. I can die a happy woman now that I made Manny laugh.
10 AM —
Manny gave me a ticket number and hung up, but only after assuring me that they’d clean my website and get me back up and offending people by Monday.
10:15 AM —
I hung up and immediately called my husband.
“Babe, the Russians targeted The Observer’s Voice site with malware!”
“Why? You’re HUGE in Russia!
Hey, did they ask you for money…?”