Thursday, February 25, 2010

Parasitical Blights of the Internet

When I woke this morning, I had no idea what I would blog about today. Everyone seems to come up with such great and interesting topics. Then I checked my email from my iPod Touch. I've learned a time-consuming but valuable lesson. Never check an email link unless I'm on my computer.

I got this email saying I had a direct message through Twitter from one of the Romance Divas with a link asking if this was me. So I clicked it. Big mistake.

When I got to my computer, I clicked it again because I couldn't see why I had gotten the message in the first place and thought a bigger screen would help. Boy, did it. Lucky for me, hubby is one of those computer guru types that take computer security to the extreme. Secretly, I'd always thought it was a little overkill, but it made him happy so I followed along. Anyway, this message popped up on the screen telling me that this site was a reported web forgery designed to trick people into revealing personal information. This warning popped up because of the security preferences I had on my computer.

I believe this is called phishing. Lucky for me, I don't have any sensitive data on my iPod, other than my email password (which I changed) and my iTunes password (which I changed). I think. I spent an hour or more changing passwords. An hour I could have been working on Blood Diamond. I'm fortunate that this happened to me on a day I didn't have to work the part time job. I'm hoping that the small window of time between when I first clicked that link and when I realized what I'd done, coupled with the time difference (hoping they are in the US) will be enough that they didn't get any of my information.

I'm now afraid to plug my iPod into my computer. I'll have to, eventually, because that's how to recharge it but I think I'll talk to hubby before I do that.

These people make me so angry I could spit. Phishers, spoofers, spammers, virus launchers. If they spent the energy in pursuing a legitimate career as they do trying to screw over the little people that work hard to make a living, they'd be wildly successful. Why do they think the world owes them something? That they don't have to go out and earn it like everyone else? They think that because they sit behind a computer screen and rob people instead of holding a gun to their head while they growl, "Give me all your money" that it isn't real. It's like a computer game or something. I'm here to say, there are people on the other end of these scams. People that work hard to pay their bills and have a life. It's not a victimless crime.

Okay, time for me to get off my soapbox. Have you all clicked something you shouldn't have? What happened?


Beth Trissel said...

Oh this is so maddening. I've gotten the same thing but fortunately didn't click on the link.

GPS said...

I hate them too! Thanks for the warning. I'll be on the lookout.
Last year my desktop PC was badly infected. My hubby is also a computer geek and it took him hours to get it running again. Shortly after I got the lap top and installed Avast antivirus and Malware on both. I can't count how much spyware they've prevented from loading.

Rachel Lynne said...

Hi, I clicked the link but my virus protector stopped it! I was wondering what the heck it meant until I read your post, lol!
I'm with you and have often ranted just the same way!! No wonder we're friends, great minds think alike!
PC nuts who do these stupid viruses and stuff just drive me nuts. They are so talented and wasting it all. We had a friend who thought it would be funny to open all the doors and turn on all the lights at Lowes one night. Thank God he was just a teen but his punishment was still no computer for I think a year. He went to work for a small business as their IT guy so hopefully he is now staying out of trouble!

Gerri Bowen said...

Yes, it's happened to me and makes me just as angry. I'm very cautious now, have good virus protection and delete when in doubt.
I'm with you, Riley. These people might be clever, but they are lazy criminals just the same.

Riley Quinn said...

Thanks for indulging me today. I was so angry that I had to get it off my chest.

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely stunning the way these people must think. Just because they CAN is not the same as saying that they SHOULD. The whole status thing of setting these things into the unsuspecting www, crashing major servers that take down uncountable innocents, is unfathomable to me. They think it's COOL! And while it may take a lot of technical skill and chutzpah to do it, it's still, as you said, robbery. I hope all goes well for you and I'll be extra vigilent. Denise G

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Riley,
I agree with you and all the other comments. It is a terrible thing, it is virtually robbing another person of their livelihood. I have heard of people who are becoming so paranoid they are too scared to use the internet. How sad is that?

Carly Carson said...

I can't begin to tell you how many hours my husband has wasted cleaning up our computers over the years (we have quite a few with the 3 kids). So unproductive. And I've lost hours when my computer was killed. However, I have to say that many times hubby has been helped by complete strangers across the globe who go online and solve some of these problems. These criminal geeks could take a lesson from those guys. Don't forget to add pirates to the list. They steal your livelihood directly.

Mary Ricksen said...

lucky so far. They do it because they can. That and they have no lives.

Anonymous said...

I clicked on my email to find that someone had hacked my Twitter account and sent direct messages of a pornographic nature to everyone who followed me. I canceled the account and I hope that will be the end of it. Why do people do these things? Why would someone pretend to be me and send porn? It's insane. I want to find whoever did this and whack them in the back of the head with a big metal shovel.

Samantha Gentry said...

I totally agree with you.

Stealing information, destroying someone's computer, or even bombarding them with viagra ads is in no way "victimless". Even spammers who aren't stealing information or dispensing plague and destruction are stealing someone's time when they have to deal with the junk mail.

Unfortunately, cyberspace makes it feel very impersonal to the perpetrator, far different from sticking a gun in someone's face and taking their money. It also provides the security of anonymity.

Fortunately, cybercrime is now being taken very seriously. The consequences are no longer the slap on the wrist that it used to be.

Skhye said...

This happened to me once. My husband buys gobs of security software. So, our firewall blocked hacking attempts. I was lucky because I married him. LOL Sorry for your frustration.

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