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The Girl's Guide to Coping with Hackers

I was not the person who discovered the heinous crime. I am extremely thankful for that.

I was in fact in the shower when the hideous news arrived, singing (in this time of crisis, let us be perfectly honest) Mindy McCready's 'Oh, Romeo' and blinking coconut-scented bubbles out of my eyes as the phone rang. 'Heavens to Betsy, who is calling me at this hour, do they expect me to form coherent sentences?' I thought to myself.

On the phone was my friend Bob, telling me my livejournal had been hacked into. This led to me going to the sofa and curling up with Salome the macbook for an hour. Had someone painted my portrait at this time they would have called it 'Young Woman In Hysterics. And Fluffy Pink Towel.'

It was not long before I discovered that my primary and business email had been hacked into as well, and I had no way to access it.

Had it been me who made the discovery, given that I have all the tech savvy of a small bewildered lizard, at this point I would have completely collapsed. I would certainly have been aware that I should seek outside assistance, and would probably have taken my phone and tried to dial while hysterical.

SARAH: presses random buttons
PHONE: Good morning.
SARAH: SAVE ME!
PHONE: This is Domino's Pizza Parlour. What do you want on your pizza?
SARAH: I NEED HELP!
PHONE: ... You need help on your pizza?

I was very lucky. My friends all leaped into action like an army of trained tech ninjas. As such, I have decided to give them titles. Eimear the Bold, Charlotte the Gentle, Chiara the Resourceful and Bob the Extremely Tall told me exactly what to do, and soon recaptured my email and my livejournal for me.

At that point I discovered that all my emails and contacts had been deleted, along with the seven years' worth of posts and comments on my livejournal. Not only that, but given timing and other details that I (tech savvy of a lizard!) do not understand, it looks likely that this was malicious.

I have absolutely no idea why anyone would want to hurt me like this. (Why people might want to thump me in the back of the head for laughing like a hyena during a movie, well, that's less of a mystery.) I feel crushed, dismayed and a little tottery on my feet still, but can only resolve to be brave like my ninja friends.

Some people may have wondered whether this was a joke or some strange flight of fancy of mine: let me be very clear. I love this livejournal, and respect and value those who read it, far too much to dream of ever doing such a thing. I don't make jokes like this.

I am in the process of rebuilding my livejournal, with help from marmalade_fish, especially the brilliant hanelissar, and have hopes that I will recover quite a lot, though all my emails and comments are lost forever.

But I do not wish for this post to be a completely tragic one, so I have brought you some wonderful links to make up for the awful ones posted by the hacker before!

Despite the horrible difficulty finding Dull Boy in the shops, I received several wonderful entries for my contest, and I thank everyone who linked me very much for doing so! narutootaku won my heart completely with her most excellent picture of herself with Dull Boy, flying through the sky! She also added a much-appreciated review of the book. Please email me at sarahreesbrennan@gmail.com, narutootaku, and I will send you a signed copy of The Demon's Lexicon at once!

In other contest-related news, could shewhohashope and sweet_fallacy send me their addresses to sarahreesbrennan@gmail.com again? Their copies of Dull Boy were delivered to me late, and I did not have the chance to send them before this.

I racked my brains to think of another cool link to give you, and then I remembered something! I am really looking forward to a show called The Vampire Diaries, coming out this autumn. It's based on a series of books by LJ Smith, and LJ Smith was my Twilight - she wrote the books I went crazy for when I was a teenager. My favourites were the Dark Visions series, but I haven't actually read them since I was a wee thing as I am a little scared they will read differently to me now. However, I still remember enough to be able to summarise the backstory of The Vampire Diaries for you.

STEFAN: As befits the angsty hero of a series about vampires, my interests include poetry and the arts, and my fragile vampire girlfriend Katherine.
DAMON: My interests include drinking, gambling, wenching and annoying my little brother. Speaking of which, hello Katherine.
KATHERINE: I have decided to make you both vampires, and live with both of you in eternal vampiric bliss.
STEFAN: Live with... I'm sorry, what are you trying to imply...
DAMON: WHEN I SAID I WAS UP FOR ANYTHING, THIS IS NOT WHAT I MEANT AT ALL.
KATHERINE: Well, if you won't give me eternal vampiric bliss, I am offing myself. That'll show you! Then you'll weep in each other's arms!
STEFAN AND DAMON: have a duel
KATHERINE: Or not.
STEFAN: Oh my God, Damon, we're vampires! The undead, the damned, utterly doomed to endless torment. What do we do, what do we do?
DAMON: It's okay, Stefan. I have a plan.
STEFAN: Hurrah, what is your plan?
DAMON: TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AN ETERNAL MISERY.
STEFAN: lives centuries of eternal misery, drinking the blood of pigeons
DAMON: That's what I'm talkin' about.
STEFAN: Time to reinvent myself as an American high school student, who plays on the football team and has just met a girl who looks uncannily like his lost love. What is this feeling? Is it... happiness?
DAMON: Oh, Stefan. Why do you do these things to us both? It gives me no pleasure to hurt you.
STEFAN: ...
DAMON: Ahahaha, who am I kidding! Hurting you is awesome. Speaking of which, hello Elena!

Without further ado, here is The Vampire Diaries trailer. I hereby vow to watch, and possibly write affectionate parodies of, every episode.

Fun links of skies and vampires entirely aside, I must say this: I have had countless kind emails and offers of support since this madness started this morning, and I thank you all so much for them. The unkindness of the internet, however staggering, cannot measure up to its awesomeness. It has been and remains, my lovely audience, a pleasure to be here.

Comments

( 186 comments — Leave a comment )
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g33kgrrl
May. 25th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
I'm sure people have suggested, but is there any way lj support can get back your comments? They must do backups.
christycorr
May. 25th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
It's hardly personal; they just target popular LJs. It's happened to copperbadge and to shoebox_project. *hugs* All your emails and posts, that's got to be really tough. I'm so sorry, Sarah.
sarahtales
May. 25th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
No, that was through inactive email addresses: this was through my current and primary email, involving deleting all of my business email, and with a post that specifically referred to my book. The timing's also very dodgy - exactly a week before my book comes out - and apparently the websites looked unusual (I really don't have the tech savvy to know any difference, and am not going to infect my computer poking around). But the general feeling is, it was personal. Holy violation, Batman!

It does suck - thank you for the sympathy.
(no subject) - christycorr - May. 25th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - live_momma - May. 25th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nae_k - May. 27th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
renesears
May. 25th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry someone did this to you.

And thank you for the Vampire Diaries. even without having read them, that's good stuff.
canadianevil
May. 25th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
*hugs* You are an amazing person and whoever hacked you deserves to live on spiders at the bottom of a pit. :(
jenny_moss
May. 25th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry, Sarah! Very troubling.

(And I didn't know the Irish said Heavens to Betsy. Love hearing it.)

Hugs.
blamebrampton
May. 25th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
You're a good soul.

And should your malicious hacker be found, some of the Americans are preparing rails to be ridden, while I have a copy of Wesley's Sermons and am prepared to either read enormous extracts on morality to the offender, or offer up the tome for its handy beating qualities, whichever you'd prefer.

Good luck with the recovery. I will try and learn more tech tonight so I can see if I can help at all. And chin up! At least it's a nice reminder that many people have your back.
aegeus
May. 25th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
*hugs*

We've already talked in email, but I'll say again that you didn't deserve this and I'm so sorry it happened to you.
splinister
May. 25th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
Ah Sarah, what a nightmare debacle with your LJ and email. It's terrible to lose so much information.

Thankfully the awfulness of the rotter who hacked you is compensated by the awesomeness of your group of valiant rescuers.

I always enjoy reading your posts, so I'm pleased all is restored to normal again.
chebonne
May. 25th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
As far as I know it's not personal. I'm thinking they just target popular journals, to get the virus on those sites to as many people as possible. Fairly dickish, but it's happened to more people -- one girl I know lost every single fanfic she had ever posted and was almost too depressed to do anything about it. :/
marysiak
May. 25th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
If it's just to get a virus out there why delete all the persons emails and journal? Why not just get in there and post your virus?

People suck.

The problem with having nice things happen to you (like getting a book published and generally being awesome) is that bitter people react by wanting to bring you down.
fyrie
May. 25th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
I can't believe someone would be so outright mean, just for the hell of it :( I'm so sorry. I hope you can get some things back at least.
hanelissar
May. 25th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
Your continued optimism and positivity amazes me: I am in awe of you. And so, so glad you managed to reclaim your journal, even if there's nothing there right now. (But we're getting there! I'm so glad it's bank holiday and I didn't have to go to work today so could work on this instead.) You deserve this least of anyone in possibly the entire world. I'm so glad there are so many people who are here to support you.

And I vaguely remember those books! I think it was my sister who read them rather than me, but I recall enjoying them!

(And I am so so sorry we can't get your comments and emails back for you. I've tried for the comments, but Google cache rarely saves any and never more than is on the first page. I'm really sorry!)
brandogirl
May. 25th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry about your hacker. That's awful.

But speaking of awful, I'm horribly worried about that Vampire Diaries TV show. I've been paying attention to it for months, and they've changed *everything* about it. The brothers' last name isn't even Salvatore anymore and they're not Italian, for God's sake! And Elena is a brunette! They do drugs, and as far as I can tell, Meredith isn't even a character in the show! THEY OFFED MEREDITH!!

So I fear I will have to write this one off, as excited as I was when I first heard about it. *deep sigh*

Good luck recovering from your trauma! And I'm so looking forward to going out and getting your book next week. Yay!!
sarahtales
May. 25th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
I was rather taken with Damon in the trailer, just the same! It is a pity to off Meredith, though - she was my favourite of the girls.

Thank you for the luck wishes, and I so hope you will like the book!
(no subject) - kuteki - May. 25th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shewhohashope - May. 25th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
oceaxe
May. 25th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
I'm unspeakably sad that this has happened to you. Just know this- we love you and your work far more than anyone else could ever possibly dislike you/your work. We outnumber them and out-emote them. We out-eat them, out-drink them, out-merry them, and are just generally superior to them in every way. And we will support you no matter what.

Okay! Though previous over-the-top gushing comments from me have now been deleted, I am doing my bit to continue the legacy. Gushing comment accomplished!
faerie_writer
May. 25th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
Wow, Sarah, what a terrible thing to have happen. I'm so glad your friends were able to help you out.
vinagrette
May. 25th, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
Total nightmare! How awful :( I am glad you have a rag-tag band of super heroes to help you sort it out! <3<3
dreaming_elise
May. 25th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
Every time the optimistic humanitarian in me is about to think maybe we as a species might just turn the corner, I get some sad news waved under my nose that renews my misanthropic half. I'm so sorry that this happened!

June 2nd fast approaches! I am very excited! Perhaps your publishers are astrology freaks, because they timed your release just a few days after Mercury comes out of retrograde! (That's supposed to be good.)
scrtkpr
May. 25th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
I emailed with my sympathies and meager offers of assistance, but as your inbox is probably flooded right now, I thought I'd also post here and say how outraged I am on your behalf, how much I love you, and how much I admire you for finding the ability to compose such a clever, funny, entertaining post so soon after this has all happened. I would still be sobbing hysterically, I think. You're amazing. <3
ashkitty
May. 25th, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
That's horrible, sweetie. :( I'm not really equipped to help with rebuilding, alas, not being a tech ninja, but will happily offer support, tea, and creative torture ideas should the offender be located. <3
prettyhairs
May. 25th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
That sucks majorly! *hugs*

I know it's too late now but you could archive your journal from now on. I use lj Archive.

I hope this will chear you up a bit:
I'm currently studying at Osaka University for a year. Last Wednesday I went to Tokyo and met ravelqueen whom I met on Tuesday evening on Marmaladefish in the comments to the post about throwing book parties for the Demon's Lexicon. We found out that we share the same major and that she's from Germany and I'm from Switzerland, so we could squee in German about your book (which we both haven't read yet in Japanese because we're waiting for the English original) So, to cut this rambling short: thanks to you, your book and marmaladefish I made a new friend on the other end of the world=)
jennyanydots21
May. 25th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
*delurks* Am really shocked at this type of internet crime. It's like burning every copy of a book, or deleting someone's unpublished manuscript. Really sorry to hear your blog got attacked - not least for selfish reasons!

I'm also a bit lizard-like in my lack of tech-savvy, and I'm not sure how your friends are going about reconstructing your LJ, but if it helps I have a few hardcopies of your Goblet of Scorching Hotness around from back when a few of my college friends and me printed them off and read them like a play. (There was some hysteria.) Just in case you didn't have another copy saved?

Hope the reconstructing goes well!
rebekkamaria
May. 25th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
You are THE loveliest person on this planet. *hugs*

And I did laught out loud (and maybe cry a bit too).

But, but, but... there was this one person who lost her posts in the same way as well and she was able to get back some of her comments. The link to her journal is in the comments of your first post.

Take care, dear.

Love,

Johanna
wordswoman
May. 25th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, no...I'm so sorry this has happened to you. :( I've followed your blog and your writing with great pleasure, and it makes me so angry that anyone would do this to you. For whatever reason, personal grudge or stupid malice.

I hope your tech ninjas can help you achieve, if not vengeance, at least the recovery of some of the lost writing.
evilslieutenant
May. 25th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry on behalf of this universe. That really sucks, babe. But you know what? You are a successful, accomplished writer who's book is an air-born ebbolla virus' mutation away from being published. Even if this WAS malicious, and I'm sure you know better than anyone whether it was or wasn't, this means nothing. It's unpleasant, but it's a small hitch in a large life that's going wonderfully well.

Congrats on everything else.
greenfaeriedust
May. 25th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
Loved the parody, I will most definitely be tuning in! Just finished TDL a couple of seconds ago and my eternal devotion for you has increased as expected! You even managed to surprise me with events I didn't expect. It was emotional and heartfelt and I loved it from start to finish. Can't wait for the anticipation for the sequel to build! So sorry again that these awful people hacked you, Hope your book being incredibly popular with everyone in civilisation in the next couple of weeks softens the blow a little. :)
marissamiranda
May. 25th, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
I am SO sorry this happened to you. *hugs* If the miserable bastards wanted to hack just to get their links on your page, surely they could have left the emails and posts alone?!? That's simply malicious. =/

Have some hugs and virtual cookies. ♥ The rest of the world loves you, even if that jealous, dastardly hacker doesn't.
aegeus
May. 25th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
I believe the fact that the hackers deleted everything coupled with the timing of the hack and the technical bits are the reason for thinking it's personal, not just some random hack. The keylogger links were likely there as a half-assed attempt to make it look like a random hack.
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