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Kirby: Sorry if I spammed you, Satan got my email

Published November 14, 2013 9:58 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In sacrament meeting last Sunday, a stake leader counseled us to toss our computers into the street and run over them with our cars. He also suggested we flush our other "gadgets" (cellphones) down toilets.

I didn't agree, of course. I find it much more effective to simply remove a computer's hard drive, pop a couple of .45 rounds through it, then burn it. Also, a cellphone won't fit down a toilet. I have a grandkid who tried it.

What the speaker actually meant was that such drastic measures were preferable to falling under the evil influence of Satan, The Father of Lies, and The Great Deceiver or by his more commonly known name today: the Internet.

I should have listened to Sunday's speaker. I should have gone straight home and shot my computer because Monday night, Beelzeweb got me good.

I woke up the following morning and found 130,000 rejected emails in my inbox. Someone — and by that I mean Satan — had hacked my email.

Note: If you emailed me anything since Saturday, I didn't see it. It's probably on a bulletin board in hell. Sorry.

It took most of the day for the tech trolls to rescue me and restore The Salt Lake Tribune's email server. In the meantime, my co-workers went without email for hours, we were blacklisted by seven major Internet providers and 1.5 million individual spams went out under my name.

Note: Spam differs from my actual column in that I didn't mean to send the former. The latter I do on purpose.

I have no idea what I "sent" everyone. Could have been a photo of a famous nostril, nuclear launch codes, a suicide note or an invitation for sex.

Whatever it was, I spammed every corner of the world. I know because they bounced back to me in Russian, Chinese, Korean, Turkish and what I'm guessing is either Arabic or a diagram to teach chickens how to line dance.

The Internet is a jungle. Even if you're minding your own business, something can come out of the dark and eat you before you can click "control-alt-oh crap!"

There's a lot of good stuff on the Web. Lots of bad, too. One of the things we tend to forget when we're peering at the world through our monitors is that whatever is out there is also peering back at us.

You can do your genealogy and research your family on it. You can also download images from the Web so twisted they will get you uploaded on the Web as a registered sex offender.

The Internet is a great way to network with people who share similar interests. I've corresponded with fellow cannon enthusiasts about gunpowder loads. That correspondence probably saved my life but it also almost got me killed once.

Social media is a fun way to connect with people and share things such as recipes, music interests and travel tips. It's also a handy way to reconnect with an old flame and end up divorced.

You can find and lose God on the Internet. There's also no better way to save money AND have your bank account electronically looted. You can use the Internet to get smarter but also to get stupider.

Fortunately, it's also a great way to apologize to the world. If you got a spam email from me this week, I'm sorry. I'll try not to do whatever it was that I did again.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com.