I didn’t sleep well Saturday night. I’d been visiting social network sites that evening and managed to get into trouble. While checking my hotmail.com messages, I tried to track one back to twitter but failed to connect. After trying several times, I gave up and closed hotmail – and found a disturbing message waiting for me on my desktop. It said my computer was infected with spyware and viruses. It looked genuine, referring to MS security. Then I spotted this little red flag down at the bottom and, like an idiot, I clicked on it.
That’s when the fun really started. Big red warnings began flashing all over the screen. No matter what I did, they wouldn’t stop! They told me I needed to buy this “tool” which would supposedly decontaminate my computer. That made me suspicious, but it was too late to call my son and ask his advice, so I turned off the computer and went to bed. For more than two hours I lay tossing and turning, worried sick about the distressing messages. Had I really blown it by clicking that red flag? Was there some nasty virus on my computer that would eat my writing files, my ancestry research, my family photos – years worth of work? (Most files were backed up but not all. I MUST remember to back up more often!)
As soon as I dared the next morning, I called my son, Dan. After listening to my panicky story, he said it sounded like I’d accidently downloaded a form of malware. It wouldn’t destroy my files, he assured me – to my great relief – but it would greatly slow my computer and pester me until I gave in and bought the “tool” which was supposed to get rid of the infection. To make a long story shorter, my brilliant tech-savvy offspring cleansed the bug from my computer and set up an extra safeguard to keep this kind of thing from happening again.
Moral of the story: Don’t open anything you aren’t sure is safe! Because there are a lot of creeps out there, eager to invade our computers, yours and mine, and steal from us. They are thieves, nothing more, nothing less!
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