Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nasty Stuff

Naw, that doesn’t happen to me. Heard a lot about it, read about it, and like everyone else gotten dire warnings about it. Every so often somebody tells me or emails that such and so virus is crippling computers like crazy, that I’d better be careful or run out and buy virus protection software. It happens to people I know, but every time I hear the story it’s about a PC running the Windows OS. And each time the answer is, “I use an Apple computer and I’ve never had a virus. I think it’s a Windows thing.” Always an easy answer…until yesterday.


Yes, it does happen on Apple computers, and for a while there some kind of nastiness had my iMac going bananas. Thankfully it wasn’t one of those bad strains that gobble up all your data and leave you dead in the water, but for neophyte me it was frustrating enough. There is no anti-virus software installed on the computer for the simple reason there’s never been a need for it. Other computers get viruses, not mine. Or so I thought.


It started with an image search. Putting together yesterday’s blog post on Viggo Mortensen it came time to find a picture to go with the words and Google was the most likely place. You know the drill; type ‘peanut butter images’ into Google and you get a hundred pictures of peanut butter. I typed the name and came up with several pages of Viggo Mortensen photos. Wanting a larger view of one possible choice, I clicked on it and everything went nuts. The monitor looked like a slot machine when you get five cherries in a row. For a second I thought celebratory smoke was going to come out the top. The noise settled down and a new window opened and began counting all the viruses that had built up in my system. After a couple of minutes it tallied the list and told me to click the remove button. That raised a window asking for my credit card number and how many months of Mac Shield guardianship did I want to purchase. I caught on to the scam then and started closing the windows that had popped up everywhere, dragging the already installed software to the trash. Then came the message about being unable to trash open software. I hadn’t ‘opened’ any software and couldn’t find anything to ‘Quit.’


Then the bad stuff started. Without my touching keyboard or mouse an Internet porno page popped up on the screen. I closed the page, but a minute later another porno site popped up, this time in a different gender—masters wielding whips against the cherry red buttocks of male slaves. In spite of the frustration I had to laugh. Closing that one I wondered what would be next. This is most of the time a G-rated blog site so I’ll say no more than that it involved women with oversized chests on rubber sheets. It was almost as though the demon now inside my computer was trying to determine which way to go, offering up a revolving smorgasbord of smut, trying to find the one that would slow my rush to close it. And then the pop ups switched gears and opened a list of places I could get Viagra at a discount. I quit Safari thinking that would finally turn off the slideshow of Sinderella and the gay dwarfs, but to no avail. This stuff didn’t need a web browser to open its doors and windows.


I tried everything twice then shut down the computer and went to bed. This morning with Apple Support on the phone and explaining the problem, the tech support guy cut in and said, “Say no more. I know all about it because we get hundreds of calls about this stuff. I’ll walk you through it and we’ll get rid of it.” And so it happened. In the process of cleaning the bad stuff out of my system he related a story of his own experience with the same kind of bug that got into his system through email. His final advice… If you click on something that prompts unexpected or unexplained behavior in your computer, immediately hit the ‘Force Quit’ in your Apple menu. You might catch it in time.

3 comments:

  1. Welcome to the club. Recently my hotmail account was highjacked and all my contacts got plenty of emails trumpeting Viagra and its claims of upstanding results. One friend kept emailing me asking if there was something particular in the link he should be looking for. But you can tell the ones who have been victims themselves; they just email and say you've been highjacked.

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  2. Do you remember the story I told you about the virus my PC got from searching for bunk beds for our in patient research unit? I was told to try the department of prisons and find out who supplied their bunk beds. Well, somewhere in those transmissions came a very interesting virus. I saw photos I never had seen, never wished to see, and pray never to see again - all flashing by my screen at a mile a minute. It was removed by the next day - but it's an experience you don't forget! Now I LOVE my AVG monitoring system. Sorry you had to go through that!

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  3. So happy to read this. If this happens to me, I'll force quit asap.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America