Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hostage Spyware -- It Happened to Me!

     I was happily wandering around the internet this afternoon, and clicked on a gossip page. Next thing I knew, a huge message from 'Microsoft' flashed on the page:

WARNING: Your computer's been compromised!

According to the message (with a backing of an 'official Microsoft' website page behind it), my passwords were gone, my credit card info stolen. And if I tried to click off that page, my computer would automatically lock until I called "our engineers" to solve the problem. A toll-free number was 'helpfully' included.  (I tried clicking off, anyways -- nothing budged.)


No doubt the world would now end.

Either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton (depending on which person you think is more evil) would win the election.

All because I'd been hacked.


    After a moment of blind panic on my part, the Brick took a look and pronounced the whole mess due to hostage spyware. (Fortunately, I'd also noticed that the address, or URL, on top had nothing to do with Microsoft, so was a little skeptical. Whew.)

He also couldn't get any pages to close -- but he could go down into Programs and get Chrome to close everything there. (Which it did.)  He warned me:

*Don't let Chrome 'restore' the pages when booting it back up. And...
*Never, ever click on the 'ok' the spyware page was providing! (Let alone call that phone number) 

(And he also said to stay out of the celebrity gossip rags, where this stuff proliferates. He's right. I need to behave myself.) 

So...if you get a scary message like this, take a minute and check the URL. Then take a deep breath...and click DELETE. Or CLOSE. Whichever works. If it doesn't help, use the main program to close everything. (That will work.) Then you can restart, or just go back to what you were doing.

Now all is well.  (Maybe not on the Trump/Clinton issue...)

Charley would have never fallen for this...or maybe he would.

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