That One Time My Parents Were Hacked

My mom called the other day. It started out, “Honestly, your father.” Which, isn’t a strange way for her to start a conversation about my dad.

“What did he do this time?” I asked …

It all started out rather honestly, the poor guy belongs to a photo club. He decided he’d go out and buy an expensive Canon color photo printer. He just wanted to print his photos to share with the club. It didn’t even cross his mind that something bad could happen.  So, he got his printer, hooked it up and started working with his photos to get them printed. Yet, every time he printed a picture the size was never right.  SO, he googled “Canon Tech Support” online. He clicked on the first site that popped up and found the phone number for the tech help he was looking for.

But… it wasn’t Canon.

“Oh yes sir, we can help you. It sounds like a problem with your computer. Let us come in to your computer and help you.”

Because no one was there to say, “Hey!  Are you crazy?!?! Don’t let those guys into your computer.” He agreed, and they were in just like that…and, so was the virus they planted.

To me, that is one the scariest things, other people in other places should NOT be able to move your mouse around, access your computer or even pretend they work for Canon.

The thing is, if you let “them” in, “they” will come. Sometimes, it isn’t as obvious as what my dad did. A lot of people will say, well, “Duh, why would you ever just let someone in your computer? Even if it is for technical support.”  But, have you ever just been looking something up online, or connecting with friends on social media and clicked on the little ad that pops up?”  It’s the same thing, we are all guilty. It may not be as severe, the skull and crossbones virus death mask won’t appear on your computer screen, but, if you keep clicking on the unsolicited ads or pop up talking videos, then your computer starts to run slower…and slower…and s…l…o…w…e…r………….

Adware, spyware, malware exist. An article from Purdue University, states, “Many users inadvertently download spyware or adware when downloading other programs. Many popular peer to peer applications and other software packages include adware or spyware packages. Even seemingly innocuous programs such as special cursors can contain spyware. In addition, many websites and advertising banners set cookies on your system that track your web usage.”

SO??? Why is that dangerous? The article goes on to state, “Spyware and adware can gather information about you, your browsing habits, as well as other data. Cookies set by websites can allow these applications to track which websites you visit; this is especially dangerous as some cookies can contain user login and password information for the website which created it. In addition, spyware and adware can slow your system down, hog system resources, and use network bandwidth. Some spyware and adware can even be malware and open your system to attack or cause system problems.” Then, you got bugs.

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