Monday, January 16, 2012

Cockroach Criminals

Crime can be categorized in many ways. Felony vs. Misdemeanor. Violent vs. Non-Violent. Personal vs. Impersonal. I’d like to add another to the list. Cockroach vs. Light-of-day.

A Light-of-Day crime is a crime where the criminal shows his face. For example, when my mom was young, she worked in a bank, and on several occasions a man pulled a gun on her and demanded cash. (One bank robber was on a successful spree after he robbed my mom and returned to rob her bank several months later. While he was in line, he made eye contact with my mom and panicked. He hadn’t kept good records of which banks he’d previously robbed. Even successful criminals are brought down by bad record keeping.) But that’s what I call a Light-of-Day crime. The criminal shows his face.

But there are crimes where the criminal doesn’t show his face. I call those cockroach crimes because like cockroaches they commit crimes in the dark, hiding and pretending to be good citizens. (Like the person who stole my husband’s identity and committed fraud—you’ll find that the bank thinks you’re guilty until you prove yourself innocent. Or the scum-of-the-earth man who stalked me in college and knew the minutiae of my life and eagerly called me during the middle of the night to share it with me.)

You may know what inspired this post if you follow me on Twitter. Yesterday my account got hacked. A friend’s account got hacked in the early morning, so I checked my account when I found out several hours later. My account was clean, so I shut down my computer and snuggled up with The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, which my daughter had asked me to read. Big mistake. Not the book. The mistake was assuming that my account was okay. Six hours later when I checked my account again, I had scads of notices from friends telling me that my account had been hacked. GRRR. (Hopefully, it’s all been rectified.)

Of course, other than some embarrassment on my part and some hacker harassment of my friends, the hacker didn’t get much. (At least, I hope not.) Not like a blogger friend who had her account hacked and had years’ worth of blog posts deleted. And her email address book gutted. And the emails to and from her agent and editor deleted. That’s nasty.

It gets worse. I’ve received notice of a writer whose e-books have been stolen and republished—with new titles. Interestingly, the thief kept her name on the books (you need the name recognition to sell), but the money is funneled into another account.

Hacking writers. Seriously. That’s pretty much taking candy from a baby or stealing an old lady’s purse. Most writers I know have a hard time converting files from Word to PDF, let alone setting up hack-proof systems. So I have a word for you cockroaches out there. There’s no glory hacking a writer (and almost no money in it either). But watch out, we writers will get more savy—at least, our kids, friends and spouses will help us be more savy. The light will shine on you sooner or later. And you will get crunched under foot. Plus, my son is teaching me that you can kill a cockroach by banking a shot with an airsoft pellet, so that it ricochets and hits the soft underbelly. Watch out, I’m locked and loaded.


  1. WOW! frightening! Glad nothing seems to be off with your stuff after the hacking.
    Love the cockroach analogy. I love bugs, but i really, really, hate cockroaches. :0)

  2. Cockroach is an apt title for them. Sorry for your run-in with the hacker. And just think--- those guys could maybe use their "powers" for good.

  3. I hate cock-roaches, especially real ones. I keep spraying them with poison, but it doesn't phase them. However, crushing them with the weight of the 1 gal useless pesticide bottle does work very well.

  4. I think your font has been hacked; it keeps changing in your posts.

  5. I had my blog hacked last year. What a pain! I regularly back up my blog and I added duel verification to my gmail account just to be safe.

  6. I saw that about your Twitter account. Glad you got it taken care of. As for the pirating of that person's novel? Horrible!!!!

  7. Glad you got your twitter thing sorted. I saw that over the weekend. Totally sucks. So I agree with your apt title for these types of people. I had one of my emails hacked last year, but luckily it's not one I use to often and I got it back fine.

    I can't believe these stories about authors' books getting stolen in such a way! Awful!