The internet is both a wonder and a nightmare. It is hard enough to avoid getting compromised by a hacking or phishing attack yourself but now it has gotten even harder to render assistance to relatives that are less computer savvy than you are. The problem is that there are so many different ways that hackers can attack and if you take someone like me who uses Apple computers at home and Windows computers in a corporate environment at work, it is difficult to know what to do when someone has been hacked. Especially when they have been hacked with a phishing attack.
Phishing is a type of hacking where the attacker is able to get your computer to put up a message that looks like a legitimate error message. Then, they give you a phone number to call. It is supposedly a phone number for a legitimate company but in actuality it is the phone number of the hackers that are mounting the attack. They then take you through the process of “fixing” the problem over the phone. What they are actually doing is getting you to make your computer vulnerable to a more serious attack that will either allow them access to any sensitive information that you have stored on the computer or else possibly lock your data so that you can’t access it until you pay them a ransom.
When we detect a hack at work, we are told to immediately call the security team to contain it. When I got a virus on my Windows machine a long time ago, I wiped the disk and reinstalled the operating system. That was Windows 95 so you can tell how long ago it was. It is one of the reasons that I use Apple computers. They aren’t totally immune to hacking attacks but there are far fewer of them on Macs than there are on PCs.
I am supposed to be the computer expert. It is frustrating when I have to say, “I don’t know what to do about your problem.” My wife said I should have reassured her that she hadn’t done anything wrong. I understand the sentiment but I didn’t think of it in that fashion. I was worried about telling her not to worry and it turning out that there was a reason for her to worry.
Someone more familiar with the setup of her computer is having a look at it. I am hoping that it was a tempest in a teapot and that there is nothing irreparably wrong with her computer. If not. I hope she hasn’t lost anything important. I feel so helpless.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.