Boy, Am I Hacked

Boy Am I Hacked

An cadet unknown at People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398 near Shanghai has enough of me by now for a knockoff Michael Feldman. Why an elite crew boasting not only the infamous UglyGorilla but the legendary SuperHard would bother with the likes of NotMuchU is hard to figure, unless it’s a case of mistaken stolen identity–they may have thought they had the Michael Feldman who worked for Al Gore, or the “see Canadian politician” dude. You know there’s something wrong in Pudong, New Area, when Unit 61398 hacks someone so not an advance persistent threat (APT) into so pitifully few bytes. In hindsight, perhaps I should never have shown interest in certain powders and balms from Canadian Drugstore (surprisingly) in Kowloon, but, heck, worked as well as anything. No doubt red-flagged that one. No unusual activity on the Discover card, yet, but I’m pretty certain they hacked my eBay account and now know I have a number of buyer transaction comments still begging (“great to deal with, quick to ship!”). The lads from Luwan are probably chuckling, even as we keystroke, over my medical records, and soon shall roll in their cubicles with my softcore TSA scans. Unit 61398 cadets, you’d think, have some discretion in this transgression, and would know how arbitrary credit reports, driving records, and legal judgments are, and that your permanent record is not. The exchanges with Manti Te’o, OK, not so easily explained.

You don’t have a lot of recourse once you’ve been 61398’d. There’s an 86 number you can call which Google Earth shows as a nondescript warehouse on Wuyi Middle Road, Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, for all appearances a plant of chemical manufacture, catalysts and cosmetics and such, not connected with the PLA Web Academy. The folks over at Great Firewall Internet were of no help whatsoever, and, in fact, blocked me. I would simply like to know–feel I’m owed an explanation–whether or not I have been compromised, and, if so, how often, and with what mutuality. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei says my fears are groundless, but that’s what she said. Hong, however, is entirely correct in saying hacking is against the law in China, but neglects to mention the word conveys a somewhat different meaning in Chinese. 破解 means more “to hack, slash, hew, severe, separate from self, break off, rip off, dismember” which, we all can agree, should be against the law except in self defense. China, itself, claims to be the real victim here, besieged as it is by a massive number of cyber attacks, hacks and denial of what little service there is, but there is little likelihood this is anything as dedicated to the task as Unit 61398. More likely, just a 13 year old from Sandusky from his souped-up PS3 mini between classes. Elite American hackers seem to be content with breaking into Burger King and leaving Mickey D posts, although it’s not inconceivable that we have a unit of Jump Street stoners hacking the Chinese to get our stuff back.

Still, the question left unanswered is what becomes of all the Shanghaied Michael Feldmans of the world, virtual selves adrift without so much as a word of Chinese or renminbi to their name, and precious few to their namesake’s. What do I tell them?

Michael Feldman

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