A few days ago I received the following email:
“Dear Robinson, I bought your account for minetsraft apparently you do not play this game and someone put up for sale your account. I am a poor student and I live in Ukraine, could you give me your account to play minecraft?” [sic]
This email came after a swell of emails from Minecraft itself, explaining that someone had been trying to merge my Minecraft account to a Microsoft account. Oblivious to what that might even mean, I changed all my passwords and that Ukrainian email came shortly after. Obviously, I had been hacked and some enterprising salesperson sold my digital property to someone.
Strangely enough my first reaction to was to sympathize with the Ukrainian student, but I was worried about even confirming my existence given his or her relationship to enterprising hackers. Even more strangely, despite my account being compromised, I do not appear to be the one who suffered the consequences. Without much insight to offer, I wanted to share my mini epiphany where the people who get hacked can be more protected than the people who try to profit.
My heart bleeds (heh) for those who are duped by hackers. Diablo knows I have suffered at the hands of clever computer users who want my items/levels/accounts. What really gets me and this might be what matters most in this whole debacle, is that he was right. I do not play Minecraft all that often. I play with people in the lab every once in a while, but I am pretty sure this Ukrainian student would do so much more with it. Looking at my stack of shame of Steam, I wish could be hacked and have my games stolen. Then someone less busy and more motivated could get some value out of these objects. When am I ever going to play Tomb Raider?
I am also painfully aware of how the logic of physical toys are being imported to the digital world. Of course, we pay for digital downloads because they are more than made up of nothing, and of course we cannot lend them because they are made up of nothing, but we can steal them because they are made up of something, and of course companies will keep you painfully aware that someone is trying to steal them so that they can pretend they are made of something and keep selling you all of nothing. <- On the fly poetry I made up in 20 seconds, please do not judge.
Now I need to decide what to tell the Ukrainian student…