The romanticized villian

My husband and I were both recently made victims of cyber crime. I was one of those misfortunate enough to have their credit card information put at risk during Target’s security breach ahead of Christmas while one of my husband’s employees made the mistake of opening an attachment from an unknown source on one of the company computers.In my case, my bank was made aware of the breach before I was and responded by sending me a new card. Additionally I was have been notified that I will receive free credit monitoring. In my husband’s case, files were instantly encrypted and he was advised that he would have to pay a ransom in Bitcoins in order to get his own data back. Even then there is no guarantee that the guilty parties will reverse the damage. There isn’t exactly a better business bureau to report them to.

Luckily he and his personal computer were off site when the attack happened, and he had the foresight to maintain critical files on another server, but the damage to the business is not something to shrug off. I will admit that my first reaction to this news was worry about the virus spreading to our home machines. I couldn’t help thinking of all of our family photos as well as my work in progress.  It doesn’t matter that we’ve made a point to have back-up redundancy, it still made me shudder.  I don’t know what I would have done if those files were suddenly inaccessible.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (film)After the initial panic subsided and he assured me that the situation was contained, I started thinking about how villainy has been romanticized in pop culture and literature. For example, Robin Hood – yes he was a thief, but one that helped people. The end justified the means. Clint Eastwood’s character in Unforgiven sets out to commit murder, but by doing so can earn money to help his children while righting a attack against a woman. We can ignore the crimes when crimes are against bad people.

I will admit then that both of these recent crimes have confused me. The typical Target consumer isn’t exactly splurging on things like caviar and truffles. They aren’t getting offers for unlimited black credit cards. My husband isn’t struggling to keep his business afloat out of our garage, but isn’t exactly a fortune 500 company (yet). To me, it seemed as if the risk of getting caught outweighed the potential gain. The breach at Neiman Marcus made more sense.

That is until I remembered that the perpetrators from either crime are most likely not from the US. Stealing those last $12 dollars from a person’s bank account could mean life or death. As ads for various charities like to remind me, a quarter per month could save the life of a child.

Still those last $12 dollars could also make the difference in keeping the victim’s power on or off in the midst of a polar vortex when the bill comes due.

I will admit that I do enjoy the recent trend of stories and shows about the antihero, and/or evolution of the villain. I am in no way shape or form advocating that they go away. They are actually some of my personal favorites as I believe that they provide us with characters that have depth and stories that can go in multiple directions.

Some believe that these stories are promoting the criminal lifestyle and in turn creating more crime. Others, that these stories are merely a reflection of our existing society. I’m not sure where I fall within the spectrum after the last month. I just require that they don’t gloss over the fact that there are always consequences, no matter the intention.

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