Polly Meets a Hacker

Oh good! You’re all still here! I know it’s only been 24 hours but boy, did I miss you all!

My husband calls me Polly – as in Pollyanna. (But you can still call me Jane.) I truly am a glass is half full kind of gal. I had a root canal a few weeks ago and while the dentist was explaining the pain I’d be in afterwards and how to take the pain meds; I zoned out. I didn’t have any pain or indication that there was even a problem before the root canal. Why would I feel pain after? Oh sure, I expected maybe a little from the injection site for maybe a day. But two weeks? Aching, pounding pain (with no swelling, so don’t worry – it’s not infected). I truly didn’t believe that would happen to me. But I digress…

So I’m very trusting. People talk about identity fraud, how they can’t sell their house, evil computer viruses and I’m sympathetic. But I know that’s not going to happen to me. Did I mention computer viruses? Yep. It happened to me.

Trying to spruce up my home page for this blog I thought I’d try to find a banner that would match the fall season, my new year. I googled “free banners” and found a great looking website with lots of free stuff to make your blog look spectacular. I oooed and ahhed over lots of pretty pictures and finally chose the red Japanese Maple leaves (my favorite tree). Did you see them? If you see them again on a site that offers free stuff click that little x at the top right corner of your screen as fast as you can! Get out of there, woman! Because I’m here to tell ya, I got way more than I paid for.

I used to teach at a school that had a laptop program for its students when having laptops in schools was in its infancy. I taught a seminar at a statewide conference teaching other teachers how to use laptops and the internet in the classrooms. This seminar covered projects, cheating, testing, internet safety and yes, avoiding the dreaded computer virus.

But I was dazzled by the pretty pictures. And did I mention they were free?

I can’t believe I was duped. But as a friend of mine pointed out, how was I to know? There are plenty of other free things out there to download that are perfectly safe. Things that people share out of the goodness of their hearts or egos – but free, nonetheless.

But this is what I don’t get. Why in the world computer geeks out there (don’t be offended – I was once a geek, too. Apparently not anymore, but still, I’m very familiar with the symptoms) create these nuisance viruses? I get wanting to hack into banks, government secret data bases and credit card companies. That criminal behaviour I understand. I don’t condone it, of course, but I get it. But where is the thrill in crashing some stranger’s computer and not even get the satisfaction of seeing the pain you caused – watching me scream in slow mo “Noooooooooooooooooo!” Frantically trying to click an x, a cancel, pressing the escape button over and over and over, shutting down the computer. Getting on my knees praying to the heavens “Please God! Please, I promise. Church EVERY Sunday, I’ll be a better mother – no more Spongebob or marathon xbox sessions so I can have more time to check on my favorite bloggers out there. A homemade dinner (no boxes or mircrowaves) every night most nights.” Holding my breath, covering my eyes as I push the button to re-boot the computer, still praying promising everything I can think of to anyone that is listening and then another slow motion, “Noooooooooooooooooo!” Only softer. Because at this point, I know I’ve been beaten.

It wasn’t a pretty site. And Mr. Hacker? You didn’t even get to witness it. The guy at the computer store won’t even try to identify it. He would try, if I wanted to. But it was going to cost a little more just to satisfy my curiousity and frankly, I don’t want to know that badly. I don’t want to give you the satisfaction of naming your silly, little virus – ok, not so silly. But why? Where is the pleasure in being mean to people you don’t know, have never met and will never see? Ever?

Have I learned my lesson? I actually just snickered out loud. I know myself too well. Nope. I’ll probably still trust too much. Still count on all my stuff being safe on the hard drive – no need to back things up.

And I’m back. On my husband’s laptop. Our, I mean, the kids and my dinosaur hard drive will be back tomorrow. Clean. Healthy. Empty. We’ll spend the day reloading programs. Mourning the loss of all the things I didn’t back up. Did I mention that I never thought this would happen to me?

And you’re still here! Thank you for still visiting my blog even though I was AWOL. After a healthy diet of this for the past three weeks I sure missed you all! I’m going to get a refill on my tea and catch up with all that I missed!

9 Comments

Filed under Roadblocks

9 responses to “Polly Meets a Hacker

  1. Hahahaha… delightful! Although I hate root canals and my dentist. Even though Im married to him. 🙂

  2. mountainmomma18

    we once had to trash a computer after I downloaded a virus, my husband the computer geek was not happy, it was his computer. Now I never open email if I do not know who sent it, but I would still download free stuff, so I would have been suckered too!

  3. OUCH! I had a root canal once and the dentist got a phone call from his wife which he took while he was jamming those little sticks into the root of my tooth. He was arguing with her as he kept shoving those darned things up and down and I was being held captive. I feared it was going through my jawbone. Never went back to the old buzzard after that tooth was finished.

    My sympathies on the computer virus. Personally, I’d find it more satisfying to come up with something clever that might prove beneficial and financially rewarding (honestly, I hasten to add!) instead of destroying someone else’s work.

  4. I hate computer viruses, the worst is getting them from someone you know who inadvertently passes it on to you. There should be a threatdown for those things.

    Glad you are better now.

  5. Stupid virus! *shakes fist in air* I can’t understand why people do it either.
    Great post!

  6. Sorry to hear that your puter got hacked! What a pain! It has nothing to do with whether you are gullible (though I see myself in that camp too… “Cynically gullible” is probably more accurate). They are all over on the interweb now. You can get a virus by just visiting a website without clicking on anything. It happened to me that way. Good luck with putting everything back in order. Aren’t you glad your blog and posts are hosted outside of your server? 😉 I am. 🙂

  7. Thanks for the sympathy and support, everyone. Hmmm…I didn’t realize you can get a virus by just visiting a website. Maybe that’s what I did. I guess I’ll never know. (I can just see Mr. Hacker, sitting in his swivel chair, rubbing his hands and laughing “Mwahhh haaaa haaaaa.” And he still truly has no idea.)

  8. Lee

    Yikes! That is the worst. I had a similar situation, but I gave my credit card and bank info!! I felt SO stupid! Identity theft in action! Thanks for stopping by, love your blog!!

  9. Most viruses are not just written for the fun of it. They have a job to do. Usually that job is turning your innocent computer into a relay point for sending spam. (They certainly don’t want to use their own computers for that. They’d get in trouble.)

    Also common is turning your computer into a zombie. With millions of zombies the bad people can issue a denial of service attack with a single command, telling all infected computers to go hit the same web site at the same time.

    Of course, some are still just random evil, but most have a purpose.

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