Your Name on the Line

I might be in “big” trouble. Because some persons hacked into my e-mail box. I don’t know who they are. But I am worried. No! Scared. Because I know its implications. And these may be far reaching—even, incriminating. I might just be visited, any day from now, by Interpol or the local police. And arrested—like one of my unfortunate friends—for any of the dozen or so cyber crimes.

But know this. I will not be arrested for denial-of-service attacks. Neither will it be for credit card hijacks. Nor downloading my MP3 songs into NASA’s computers. Not even of every hackers dream–gaining access into the Pentagon’s secret files to find out if “Area 51” exists.

I would not be arrested in a “blaze of glory” like Kevin Mitnick, a former prima hacker. But like some bogus Nigerian prince.

The situation in which I find myself, however, is not an isolated case. Because I am just one of the many victims of identity theft which the FBI called the “hottest, and most troubling, new scam on the Internet.”

I might call myself lucky because I found out soon. (I checked my e-mail, only to find scam mails sent from it, much to my horror.) But there are those not so fortunate. And these had to wait months, or even years, before finding out that some miscreant was using their name as a front.

Because of this some have lost their credit card privileges, loans, houses and jobs. Or in some cases, arrested for crimes they did not commit. Can life be this unfair? It is. Because the dishonesty of others may rub off on you. (Like the sins of the fathers visited upon the sons.)

Dishonesty is an art. And the spammers have gotten so artful. Gone are the days when you worried about the simple spam mail. Though annoying, these were easily detectable. Now, your worries are greater—the mails are not easily detectable. So good are these counterfeits, replete with links and genuine looking logos of bonafide outfits like eBay, that many customers are deceived into parting with their credit card and social security details. And the name of this new actor in our cyber sitcom? Phishing mail.

When trouble comes it does so in pairs. For phishing mail—like Bonnie and Clyde—don’t operate alone. It also has an even more deceptive collaborator named pharming or website faking. And this is rife. For every genuine website there may be 10 or more falsies.

The modus operandi of spammers are becoming nastier by the day. I know of some phishing mails which compromise your e-mail box when you open them. Some pharming techniques are known to target web browsers like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The purpose, redirection. So when you type a URL of an authentic website, say,, it takes you not to American Online but to a bogus website. And be preyed upon. Cyberspace is not the Nirvana you thought it was.

Because “Dragons” so says one writer “live there.” And the dragons—a dishonest few with criminal intent—are out to get us.

But while we wait for Saint George or a group of dragon slayers to deliver us from this menace, I have a siesta. And I dream. And in my dream I find myself teleported into the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons, and chased by goblins, wizards and warlocks.

And I flee into a nearby tower and bolt its immense door. My adversaries are outside, thirsty for my blood. I climb its stairs to the top. I peer down. I see them produce, a battering ram.Suddenly I awake to sharp raps on my door. I start. Could it be Interpol come to take me away? My fear returns with a vengeance. I hear a voice. And heave a sigh of relief. It was not the cops after all. But a friend!

Val .K. is a poet, and a nature lover. A collection of his poems “Without a Name” will soon be published by AuthorHouse, U.S.A. For personal contact, send mails to:

About the Author

Val .K. is a freelance writer, a book reviewer, a poet and a nature lover.

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