I want to apologize to all my family and friends (and assorted random contacts) for spamming them this week. My email was hacked. More specifically, my AOL email was hacked.
Yes, I can hear you laughing. AOL email??? What is this, 1998?
I moved onto Gmail a lifetime ago, but I still kept my AOL account around for the purposes of signing up for things. Everyone these days asks for your email address, and I didn't want my Gmail inbox stuffed with "Special Offers" and "Membership Information." My AOL account, therefore, became a haven for junk.
It was also very vulnerable.
Back when I created the account, sometime around 1996, people's awareness of internet security wasn't high. In 1996, celebrities accounts hadn't yet been hacked for nude photos and spam emails were still written using complete English sentences. When AOL prompted me to create a password, it didn't insist it be 8 characters long, including a capital letter, a number and a special character. It just asked for a password.
So I typed one in. Benf. Short for Ben Folds Five, a band I liked a lot in 1996.
According to mathematics, 456,976 guesses is all it would take to crack my password. From 1996-2011, it had gone uncracked. 15 years. But apparently, someone did it. I'm very careful not to click spam links, so I'm pretty sure I didn't give a spammer that way in. It was just a matter of time before my pathetic password fell victim to someone who undoubtedly looks nothing like Angelina Jolie from the movie "Hackers."
So R.I.P., last unsecured password in the world. You were a relic of a bygone era, when the internet was a much more innocent place. I'll miss how quick and easy it was to type you in, and how easy you were to remember. I'll remember you always.