Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hacked on Twitter! Here's How It Happened

All you have to do is exercise reasonable precautions.”
DI Lestrade, Sherlock: A Study in Pink, written by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss

DI Lestrade would be shaking his head at me. Sherlock would have kicked me out of his rooms a word and a half into my story. But here is my story. I admit I acted foolishly and did not use reasonable precautions. I got tricked into giving away my sign-in and password to my Twitter account. And that was the password to a number of other accounts as well. 

Late last Sunday afternoon, my phone beeped as it always does to alert me that I had an email. I get email every time I am mentioned on or Retweeted on Twitter. Good thing! The email said I had been Retweeted. I looked to see what tweet of mine had been retweeted. Hmmmm...A Dr. Oz diet tip with a link. I had never tweeted any such thing.

I rushed to the computer, knowing I'd been hacked. Someone was now sending spam as me, to steal more passwords no doubt.

Here's How The Heinous Hackers Got My Info:

Earlier in the day I had gotten the following tweet from someone I follow who was in the middle of reading my book:

@gvrcorcillo book is freaking funny I bout peed myself lol #shelikesitrough

Not long after, I got another tweet from someone I follow:

@gvrcorcillo rofl this was made by you?

(I have taken out the actual link numbers and letters to avoid spreading the piracy plague.)

So I'm thinking, “Did he see the other texts and get my book? Is he a fan? Is that a link to something about my book and how awesome it is?” Yep, the writer demon in me craving praise at any cost took over and gleefully clicked the link. After some glitching, a page opened. And then things got really stupid.

Here is the page that came up:

Screenshot from

There was the Twitter Bird in the corner and the screen's background was that blue cloud background Twitter has as one of its backgrounds. 

Oh,” I thought. “Okay. Sign in again.” I was actually pretty annoyed. Seriously, I was as eager to see good stuff about my book as Johnny Dangerously's brother was to get laid in the courthouse on his wedding day. So I quickly signed in with my user name and password, positively jonesing to see what my fan had said. But, the page crashed. And I thought, “Oh, well. Advertising spam. Sigh.” Completely discounting that I had just SIGNED IN on the bogus page!!!!

A few hours later, when I saw that @gvrcorcillo had tweeted two Dr. Oz diet tip tweets that I HAD NEVER TWEETED, it slammed into me like an overpowering wave off shore – the kind that grinds your face into the sand at the bottom: I had given away the keys to my Twitter Kingdom.

I immediately got onto Twitter and deleted the two bogus Tweets. Then I changed my password . Then I sent out a bunch of Tweets explaining thatI'd been hacked and that my Dr. Oz tweets were from Hackers. Then I reported the violation to Twitter. Then I changed every single password I have for anything. The good news is that I just went back into the bogus rotf tweet I originally got. When I clicked on the link, the bogus sign-in page did not come up. Instead, a message cam up telling me that the link was unsafe. And it did not ask me to sign in!

Let me be clear: I am not warning anyone away from clicking on links on Twitter - there is a lot of cool stuff to be found by clicking twitter links - such as my books in many of my own tweets! But DO NOT sign in after you have clicked a link.

This kind of hacking is called phishing, and if it happens to you, forward the suspicious  tweet to then DELETE THE TWEET.

Twitter is wonderful and I love to tweet, but... 

"Beware the the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"
Jabberwocky, written by Lewis Carroll


GVR Corcillo

Friday, March 7, 2014

And the Oscar for Best Butt Lift Goes to...

Last Sunday night I quickly grew depressed then resigned as I squinted through the glitz to see teeming rows upon rows of plastic expressions, over-processed hair, and inflated lips. It's as though stars no longer grow old, but instead grow ludicrously comical and ridiculously fake. Fifty on screen no longer looks like Perry Mason or Edith Bunker, but like a cartoon duck. Why fight aging just to end up with a booby prize? Why fight aging at all? Are wrinkles really so much worse than bubble lips and sucked in cheeks?

Is it so bad to live life and show the evidence?

But wait.

Damn it, I kind of stepped in a puddle here. I uh, em, dye my hair. Ever since the age of 28, I've been having the gray highlighted out of the blonde. I'll never forget the first time I asked my hair guy extraordinaire Jordy if he could touch things up a bit.

Me: Could you maybe highlight it a little? I've got few strands of gray here in front.
Jordy: Honey! You've got gray all over!

So, I, too, fight aging in my own way. By keeping my fly-away split ends as sunny golden as they were when I was a kid. And you know what? You might not like the way my hair looks. You might think I should condition it, perm it, heck, on some days brush it.

But that's okay. Because I like the way I look. And today's stars – or at least the agents of today's stars and LOTS of fans - like the way they look. I'm okay, you're okay. Or even if you're not, it's not my business. And vice versa, I'm sure, to quote Sherri Ann Cabot. I think it's cool to be cool with one another. Sound good? Truth is, lots of people thrill to this idea of acceptance.

How do I know? Because it's the essence of romance and lots of people read romance. Romance reveals the journey of two people becoming more tolerant, more understanding of one another. The Walls of Jericho come down, bit by bit, (not necessarily with the fanfare of a toy bugle) so that two people can recognize and feel that pulsing core of some truth, some frequency, some rhythm that they share. And it is this simpatico that will keep them happily together.

The story starts out, and the two people clash, as do Elizabeth and Darcy, Mindy and Danny. But it's there, early on - a vibe like the hum from a refrigerator that tells you these two would be so good together. For Elizabeth and Darcy, their manners are quite different, yet neither one performs to anyone. Each lives according to exacting truth. But they have to overcome the barrier of disparate manners in order to realize the values they share. And Mindy and Danny? In the first episode, it becomes clear that they know each other on a deep level because each knows exactly how to cut the other to quick. Danny tells Mindy she needs to lose 15 pounds, and Mindy derides Danny for having gotten divorced. But at this point in their relationship, their feelings find expression only through insults and one-upsmanship. As the series progresses, they break down each others' walls and move in closer.

And that's the kind of romance I like. Not one that begins with a mutually immediate sexual spark, but one that begins with something...else. Some subtle hint that lets you know that these two are skating along the same wavelength, that they've got what it takes to be amazing together. It can be just one word, just one action, just one brief exchange. Like Ron's awed amazement - “Hermione!” - when she slaps Draco.

I planted my first clue that Lisa and Jack hear the same distant bongo beat in Chapter Two of my novel She Likes It Rough. It's there for anyone to see by browsing through the beginning of the book online.

Think you can find it?

And by the way, in case you love pop culture references and trivia as much as I do...

1. When Sherri Ann Cabot says, "Vice versa, I'm sure," what is she doing?

2. Who buys the toy bugle?

3. What provokes Hermione to slap Draco?

4. Who is Larry's Lizzy?