On the face of it, the world of information and computer security is all doom and gloom, isn’t it?
Sure, there are many people out there fighting the good fight, achieving amazing things, from bringing down botnets to securing their organisations’ systems, but we don’t really get to hear about that side as much as perhaps we should.
So how refreshing is it to see a positive story surrounding a security issue?
Enter Schuler Benson.
Back in 2009 he was living in Arkansas and, like millions of other people, was logging into Facebook. Only on one occasion he used his mobile phone to login. Or would have done if Facebook had given him the opportunity to do so.
Instead, he found he was already logged in, only it wasn’t his account.
Instead it belonged to Celeste Zendler, a woman from Boulder, Colorado, who later posted this perfectly valid question onto her timeline:
wants to know how some stranger managed to log onto my account without meaning to?? Way to go facebook!
Given the distance between them it is hardly surprising that they had never met, had no friends or family in common, either in real life or on Facebook, and had no shared interests stated on the site.
Thus Benson, appearing to be Zendler, posted messages wondering just how he could log out of her account and wondering why he was her in the first place.
But, whatever either of them tried, they couldn’t separate themselves from Zendler’s account until Celeste sent Shuler a friend request.
Bizarre situation over, the pair planned to break their forced friendship soon after but got talking, only to find they had a lot in common.
Four years later, they met and Celeste ended up moving to Arkansas to be with Schuler.
By 2014 things had become serious so Schuler decided to indulge in some malicious hacking, this time taking over Celeste’s Facebook account to post a picture of an engagement ring, along with a message:
I’m coming back here. Celeste, I’m hacking into your Facebook account for the second time (on purpose for the first time ;)) to ask you a question….Will you marry me?
Come June 2015 and the pair were married.
So, if you can overlook Facebook’s login failure and Schuler’s unauthorised hacking of Celeste’s account, all’s well that ends well though, as one commenter on Schuler’s post said:
Meanwhile, faraway in a darkened room, Mark Zuckerberg sips his coffee, and whispers to himself, “Experiment 471 was a complete success.”