Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We Have A Problem

The phone rings and it is "Jack" my computer monitoring service. Seems a hacker has managed to get into my computer. So after ten minutes of looking into the files and running diagnostics I stop and ask, "Wait, how do I know who you are?", after all he could be the hacker! He gives me all the security information I need so I know he is legit.

He says he will work on it for twenty minutes or so and call me back. Sure enough in twenty minutes he calls me back. It is worse than he thought. He shows me on the screen where the issues are (and they are there). Then he says, "We need to remove these files."

No kidding I thought. "So can you do it?"

"That is why I am calling you. We have a program . . ."

"Here it comes," I thought.

Sure enough, "Our program will not only take care of this but make sure it doesn't happen again."

"OK, then do it."

"It will only cost you $199"

"$199? I have already paid you to take care of the computer"

"But this is different. And for $299, we can do this for 2 years."

I very quickly asked for his name and phone number and told him I would call him back if I decided to do that. Of course he launched into his spiel about if I did not use their program my computer would be ruined forever. I thanked him and rang off.

As soon as I could I powered off my computer but not before he put in into "Safe Mode".  First thing I did was go to my mobile phone, search how to get the computer out of safe mode, and handle that. The next thing was to research best anti hacking and clean-up software I could find online. I found an excellent free program that did what I needed and even more for an additional $24.95.

So within 20 minutes I had launched a program to take care of the problem. Yes, I would not have known of the problem without notification from the service, but that is what I pay them for.

Of course, this morning I had to start changing all my passwords just as a cautionary procedure. Changing them is not hard - remembering the new ones will be the problem. That becomes the old dog - new trick issue.

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