My Personal Cold War


The title of this blog can be taken two ways. For the first time this winter, snow covered the landscape this morning. Beautiful? Yes. Exciting? Maybe. Am I prepared? No. The snow tires are in the dungeon, and hoses still are attached to the house.

buckwheat-blinis-ca-624x833But more importantly, I’ve been engaging in my own Cold War by battling Russian hackers. (I know how to use the analytics in my social media, thank you.)

I tried to log in to my website to write my blog on Monday. I failed. So I contacted my website designer, a man infinitely versed in techno-weirdness. He ferreted around, then called to say I had been hacked. For the second time in four months. Even though the passwords are so complex that they might as well be Sanskrit.

Four months ago, readers looking for me were directed to the website for designer Michael Kors. This time, they found me hawking Oakley sunglasses. (Given a choice, I’ll take Kors over Oakley.) Weird Russian letters peppered the website, one of several trails of breadcrumbs leading directly to Ivan the Terrible.

So we quickly went to work. Many precautions we’ve taken are invisible to you, but our efforts in the past few days have added several layers of security. You might notice our SSL certificate. The website also will be swept very regularly for malware. The invisible protocols are best not shared in case my hackers are ESL—English as a second language—students.
This chaos is surrounded by wonderful developments in my writing endeavor. I feel as if I’ve been studied so hard of late that I warned my fly-fishing guide to be on his best behavior when I’m in his drift boat: there may be spies in the aspens and spruce on the riverbanks! I’ve always been conservative, steady and deliberate—characteristics for which I’m excessively thankful now.

And just as I’m writing international suspense, the developments in my career are GLOBAL.

Which also explains the hackers. As my web designer said, “If you weren’t getting such high traffic, you wouldn’t be a target.” Readers interested in the exploits of archaeologist Grace Madison are swinging by this website in amazing numbers. And some of them are enjoying blinis and caviar, washed down with vodka, as they travel the world with a protagonist who prefers pita, hummus and iced tea—straight, no sugar. Thank you.

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