Ducking the Cyber Attacks

170716 Toy Ducksby Mike McHugh
It recently came to light that it’s the Chinese who are behind many of the cyber attacks that have made the news recently. They’ve built a cyber-army, consisting of thousands of hackers, to steal sensitive information. The most recent breach involved the personal information of millions of Federal employees. These, of course, include postal workers, who I’m sure are all hopping mad over it, and you know what that could lead to. Granted, the mail carriers seem to have been tame of late; my dog has even found more interesting things to chase. But that may be the Chinese government’s plan—to stoke things back up on that front.

It’s been almost 40 years since I worked for the Feds, when I was a college intern at the Environmental Protection Agency. That was before the days of electronic record keeping; so chances are I’m safe. Still, I wonder if Uncle Sam might have digitized my old files, thus hanging them out there for China’s taking. I may not be out of the woods.

150716 DuckSo I lie awake at night wondering what they might do with my employment records at the EPA. When I worked there, my chief accomplishment was that I published a landmark study on how to clean up oily ducks after an oil spill. The conclusion was that when you clean off the oil, you also remove the ducks’ naturally produced oils that enable them to float, and so they all subsequently drown. It’s the kind of study that the government typically appropriates millions for. Given what they paid a college intern in 1976, I’d say they got quite a bargain.

On the surface, it hardly seems like the kind of know-how that would cause the Chinese to send an elite squad to yank me off the street, throw a bag over my head, and drag me off to Beijing. It isn’t as if I used the word “nuclear” anywhere in the report. At least, I don’t think I did.

But there’s no telling what exactly China is after with this latest cyber attack. They might very well take interest in a report that neatly lays out the steps for drowning American ducks, thus raising the export price for Chinese ducks. Sure, it’s decades-old technology, but who’s to say that they’re not needing to play some serious catch-up in their duck-drowning capability?

150716 Bulb

Hope the EPA doesn’t find out I’m still burning these.

That’s why I’ve decided to not take any chances. Exercising my civic duty, I contacted my ex-employer and alerted them to the possibility of such sensitive material having fallen into foreign hands. They offered to send an inspector to my house right away, but I put them off, fearing they’d discover that not only am I still burning incandescent light bulbs (made in China, no doubt), but I’m also running non-ethanol gas in my weed-eater. Further, I’ve yet to do a sweep of the kitchen for trans-fats.

I’m also keeping a tight lid on my latest groundbreaking research on how to make top-choice beef products completely inedible with the use of a Weber grill. The governor of Texas would put his Rangers on the lookout for me if that secret ever got out.

150716 Wanted

Three dollars? Yeah, that’s about what I’d be worth if they put a price on my head.

Okay, so call me a paranoid; I don’t care. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Just don’t call me a quack. The Chinese, I fear, certainly aren’t.

© 2015 by Mike McHugh

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