What being hacked taught me… how I handled it

Posted Friday, February 20th, 2015. Filed Under Voices of wisdom

On Tuesday I was sitting at my computer and I was online doing research. I clicked a link and all of a sudden my computer STOPPED. This statement popped up that said: “This message is from Microsoft and you are attempting to hack or steal ….Please call: 1-239-205-4843…” So I called this number because my computer was locked and I couldn’t do anything.

Mistake 1. Yes, I called the number. This opened up a conversation with James from the company World Wide Help Support (WWHS) who said their company is on the approved list of Microsoft. He proceeded to tell me how my computer is exposed to hackers as I don’t have sufficient anti-virus protection on my computer. In fact he is correct however there is a way to sell a product and a way not to.

James asked for access to my computer to show me all the viruses I had on my computer. For those interested here are some that you should be aware of: Rootkit, Zeus trojan, fooface (something like that) and rundll32.exe. So it turns out that I had these on my computer. He diligently showed me. I asked him to remove them – I mean he is a company associated with Microsoft correct. So he does.

HOWEVER!!! He then went into a sales pitch how for $249 CDN I can buy a license key that will protect my computer from hackers. I told him I was not prepared to spend $249 and that I needed to look around. He did not like this. At first he says the $249 is for life and then he said it’s for 2 years. So I said which is it? Life or 2 years? He said 2 years. Again I told him I was not prepared to spend $249. First of all I had a bad feeling and I did not trust this company. If they had my license key I would be bound to them forever.

This is where is turns sour. So he gets off my computer and then I ask him how to get my computer back. He says to turn off my computer and it should reset. So I do this and then the worst thing happens…
This company screwed me and put a pass code on my windows so I couldn’t do anything. I just freaked out.

I called Microsoft who told me because I have XP it is not longer covered by them. What they can help me do is wipe my computer clean and then reload my recovery disk. I couldn’t find my disk. So I needed to call HP. I called HP and they told me my computer is commercial and that it is not longer covered so I can bring it into Best Buy. I knew that to wipe my computer clean and reload to factory settings would cost me $100s of dollars. I still didn’t want to deal with that company. To me they were the hackers.

I called my computer guy and he said he’ll come over but he had a burst pipe and that this virus is called ‘a ransom virus’ because they hold you ransom until you spend the $249.

This is when I got MAD.

I called the company back because they showed me their site and their number. I asked for James, the man I originally spoke to. He answered the phone and I just laid into him. I said that his company is despicable and that they are the hackers and then they hold people ransom until they give them the money they want. What kind of business are they. I told them I called Microsoft (which I did) and the police and that when I get back online I will launch the biggest social media campaign against their company and that I will tell everyone who they are and what they did (which I have – be warned). I told them that if I have one dollar missing from my account I will come after them. I was furious. I just yelled at them. I was really mad.

James hung up on me. The surprising thing is that about 20 minutes later I received a call from James saying that Microsoft gave him the key code so I can get my computer back. I don’t know if I scared them or what but I don’t care. I tried the key code (if this happens to you try tapwater, tapwater123, tapwater412) tapwater123 and it wasn’t working so I called back and he gave me all these variations. Finally tapwater worked.

This company also changed my wifi network password so I couldn’t receive my emails.

Once I put in the code all of a sudden my computer and phone righted itself. All was good.

I then called IYOGI a valid third party provider I deal with with that knows Macs and PCs. I had to deal with each computer separately. For the PC I had to reset my computer to the day before to get rid of the hackers ‘work’. For my Mac I just cleaned it up.

This ordeal to 6 1/2 hours of my time. I was exhausted after all transpired.

What did I learn? Well, for starters I am looking at a new computer so that I can protect myself from viruses and I want to make sure I have a “tight” firewall.

Second, that I am not to call any number – whether it says Microsoft or another company that pops up on my computer.

Third, I will stand up for myself always. No one is going to take advantage of me. This is part of my empowerment. Yes, I started this by originally phoning the company however I ended it by speaking up and speaking out!

In the end all I can say is protect yourself as much as you can. Hackers are here to stay unfortunately.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend. For those celebrating the Chinese New Year, Happy New Year! Enjoy.

All my love,

Sandra

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