Monday, October 27, 2014

Down and Out

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You should never ever think that God won't give you more than you can handle.  Because He will and He does.   In the middle of trying to figure out Noah's mystery spots that kept periodically appearing on his skin every few days and finally receiving the diagnosis that his spots were related to his body battling an ear infection - to getting  hacked on the internet the very same day.  It's like -  please just enough already.

On Noah's daddy's birthday no less, our Facebook account was hacked and taken over.  With it we lost control of Noah's update page, and a Special Needs Community page that serviced 80,000 Special Needs Families.   Years of work and assistance gone in a matter of minutes.  Now the page lays in the hands of criminals leading families on with obscene and inappropriate content mixed with special needs related posts to confuse followers into not really understanding that the page has been completely taken over.

We've spent over a week pursuing all avenues to rectify the situation.  Facebook makes it virtually impossible to contact them for assistance, especially when someone changes your URL's on everything, and erases you from any knowledge from Facebook that you ever existed in the first place.  Since this also involved Noah, we've contacted the FCC, the FBI, and filed an IC3 Internet crime report, we've spoken to the District Attorney and most recently had three officers in our living room as we made a report and explained all that had been compromised as a result.

And I sit here with a completely helpless feeling.  Helpless to reclaim what was stolen. 

I poured some of my best positive energy into assisting other families for the last four years of my life.  I did it anonymously, often acting as a "Dear Abby" for special needs families.  Someone they would write to in order to vent, to ask for help, to seek guidance, or support.   On my most difficult days it served as an outlet when all else seemed futile.  There are so many things about my own life with a special needs child that are out of my control, and in recognizing that I was often times powerless in my own situation I always had the power to make some else's day better... to inspire, to give hope, to offer words of encouragement, and to remind others they were not alone.

And it's gone.  And I feel incredibly sorry for all of those families who depended upon me.  Who needed me in their day.  The idea of rebuilding feels like the impossible mission.   And when you have been violated in this way, you really feel like swearing off the internet entirely.  I want to believe there is a way to reverse it, to reclaim what was mine,  but the longer this goes on, the further away it feels from being possible.   It was a safe place for the special needs community that was built from so much love.

And I'm kicking myself that I allowed myself to be so vulnerable to have something so important taken from my control.   And right now I'm rather in limbo, I can't move forward as the page continues to be controlled by hackers, and I haven't heard back from any law enforcement agency.  When you file these online reports they warn you that you may not ever hear back as they receive over 1,000 reports a day.  Not very comforting, leaves people like me really in the lurch when something like this happens. 

I do however miss that aspect of helping others more than I realized I would.  It gave me a place to channel my pain into something beautiful.   I have great concerns for all the special needs followers as they are now subject to questionable intentions by this hacking.  Their information could also be compromised, their children's information and likeness even hunted online.  So innocent, so vulnerable and they likely don't even know it.

I'm also very concerned what this means for Noah, and his information floating out there in the hands of hackers.  We don't quite have true knowledge of what all they do or don't have access to as a result of what has occurred.   Certainly something I didn't see coming.  But that is usually how life works - blindsided when you least expect it.  I want to believe in Karma, I want to believe that there is justice somewhere for the injustices that run rampant. 

"Have we entered an era where our lives can be destroyed by a pack of wolves hacking at their keyboards?" Mark Coffey


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.