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The Imaginary Hacker

I have spent the last week feverishly trying everything I can think of, and several things I cannot think of, trying to un-hack a website that I moderate.  It is for a charity organization that has been around for a while, and I brought it into the modern era with a slick website built on an easy-to-use content management system so the charity owner can easily post content and share it on social media outlets. 

While Windows users (at least 25 years old and above) may remember the “blue screen of death,” I was now facing a “white screen of death” where the website’s homepage ought to have been.  I soon realized that the site had been hacked, and I could not get to any page anymore. 

I entered the Matrix and hopped on over to where the code was (or I suppose I *left* the Matrix, exposing the code instead of the generated preview of the fake world we live in? Exiting rabbit hole…)  I found that the main “homepage” file had been taken over and what should have been just a few lines of code turned into a few pages of unintelligible “gobbledygook.” This was most likely doing something sinister when the page was hit, even though it just displayed a blank screen in the browser.  Maybe they were stealing information? Maybe planting more malware? Maybe trying to start a land war in Asia?

I quickly removed the hacked code and restored the file to its original glory.  “That’s not so bad…” I victoriously proclaimed. However, when I tried to log in to the site, I got an error that I didn’t have permission to log in!  How rude! At one point, I even wrote a message in the file that kept getting hacked kindly requesting the hacker to stop hacking a charity organization dedicated to helping people in need.  Unfortunately, the hacking did not stop. 

Let’s fast forward through one week of agonizing, googling, trying, failing, fixing, and sighing when my fix only lasted for a few hours before the site would get hacked again.

I felt defeated.  This hacker was matching my every move and undoing every fix I could throw at it. I pictured this brute as a masked man (I am not sure why he would have to be masked) sitting in front of a computer in a dark room, possibly with a mysterious hood or hat, and a sinister smile typing sinisterly undoing my progress every few hours. 

Eventually, it dawned on me that the hacker was actually malware sitting on the website server.  The code kept on hacking the site and changing files, not a real person. I felt vindicated, and silly at the same time upon realizing that my masked and hooded nemesis was really chunks of code in a few files (with a lot of power.)

I was able to delete the main source of the hacked file and eventually found one of his friends that was helping him out to destroy all that is good and right on a website server.  It was then that I had a bit of a lightbulb moment: this seems like a life analogy!

I was so focused on an active external foe that I didn’t even consider checking the files that were already allowed in.  Similarly, I tend to focus on external attacks to my mental, emotional, and spiritual state, that I often ignore the ticking time-bombs I have already let in and have not dealt with: wrong beliefs and lies that I have passively accepted that are actively endeavoring to bring me down.

Sure, the hacker is ultimately to blame for the intrusion to the site, but once the code got in, Mr. MeanManHacker didn’t have to do anything anymore.  The code (lies we accept) sit there inside the target vessel and starts doing damage. The wrong beliefs I have inside me shape the way I see the world, family, friends, God, and the world.  What better strategy is there in war than to defeat the enemy from the inside out?

But it is time to say “no more!” The malware is gone.  The site is restored. And it is time to remove your hidden malware inside you. Inside me.  

What lies, and wrong beliefs do you harbor inside you?  What sabotaging thoughts and perspectives lay in wait to derail a life of joy and abundance?  Maybe you’ve told yourself you’re not good enough? Not worthy of love? You always mess things up?

Well, that’s malware talking.  It’s time to kick that code to the cyber curb and replace the original files you came with when you were installed on this terrestrial ball:  You matter. You deserve to be loved. You are more than the sum of your past mistakes. You are a child of God. You don’t mess everything up. You have value and purpose. 

Run that script daily to sweep out any hidden files that may have missed the first run.  

Keep your guard up for hackers, especially the imaginary ones. 

 

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