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Friday, September 15, 2017

A Warning about being Hacked

**This is a cut and paste of a post I made earlier today on my charity blog, Bridge and Beyond, thus it's referring to 10 ish days, it's been far longer since I've blogged here.  WOW, just looked at the date and can't believe how longs it's been.  I've always enjoyed blogging and am not sure how I got away from this one.  Perhaps I'll try and get back into it.

If you've been a regular viewer of this blog, you've probably wondered what's happened over the last 10 ish days with no posts.  I was hacked in the answer.  After blogging for YEARS!  I do mean years, Bridge and Beyond has been around 9 years and I blogged prior to that.  I've gotten emails from all over the world, as you know from how wide spread our donations are.  I've NEVER had problems.  

However, there's a first for everything.  I wasn't hacked due to on line searches, nor a variety of emails, nor chatting on line in various groups with people I only know via the net.  NOPE, I was hacked my initiating a phone call.  My initiating a phone call for help with my Skype Account.  Doing a google search I found a 1-800 help line and called.  Things started out fine and dandy, or at least things seemed appropriate in terms of the questions they asked etc to get to the bottom of my problem.  This 800 number appeared in several different places on the net, but it was not a help line for Skype.  At some point during the conversation, a red flag went off in my head...got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach and so, I said (thankfully), I'm not comfortable with this conversation and am ending it.  he got a bit nasty.  I hung up.  In checking out my account, he used a program called Supremo.  Supremo, appears to be a legitimate program like Team Viewer and the like whereby someone else can see you computer to help you............it however, is a program favorite of hackers and scammers.

I had taken back control of my computer as I ended the call, and I looked to uninstall the program, which I couldn't do.  Googling indicated I could just delete said executable file and so I did.  Computer continued to work normally, so thought I was fine.  Noticed the logo for said program was still on my shortcut toolbar area and preceded to delete it, and couldn't.  My logic at that point, was to reboot, thinking perhaps the delete didn't take hold until a reboot, as often changes/updates etc don't.  

AND now the trouble begins.  Couldn't reboot, turned off the computer and waited about 15 minutes and tried again.  Ultimately I unhooked the internet from the computer (rather hubby did when he came home for dinner), and left the computer off for multiple days.  During that time, I did research via my ipad and found the info about the program Supremo (luckily I had written stuff down as they had me doing things), and did a search for the 1-800 number I had called...............TONS of reports about that number being a scam.

After calling several computer fix it places and getting estimates both about costs to fix and time to repair, I was rather discouraged.  Continuing my research, and something my neighbor told me convinced me I should try to fix it myself.  S L O W L Y, doing one thing at a time I was able to reset my computer, did a variety of virus scans with equipment/programs on windows 10.  My files seemed to be there and be ok, so then braved re-connecting to the internet...........getting excited, it hadn't blown up or anything.  Found additional virus protection, purchased it and loaded it, and did 2 more specific scans.

At this point, there was dancing in the street.  I was sooooooooo relieved, and happy, and excited to have fixed it. I was talking to myself throughout the process.

I'm posting all of this in case it might be of help to anyone else out there.  My neighbor that gave me the one piece of advice was a result of something similar that happened to him at work.  I did not give the guy on the phone any personal info, and thankfully shut things down before he asked for a charge card, which would probably have been the ultimate goal from him, based on everything I read during my research, as well as what my neighbor told me.

Additionally, I like to reinforce something I knew (no doubt you all do too), always keep you computer programs current, do your updates, run regular virus scans, AND trust your gut!

**I still have not resolved my Skype problem, and may not try for some time to come.  While researching that, I came across more than a handful of stories of people who've had issues because of Skype.  Microsoft has purchased Skype and so getting help shouldn't be that hard, but.............it is.

Thank you for bearing with me through this problem.  I had pictures both on the computer and on my camera, but one can not load pictures from a camera to an ipad in order to do any posts here.  I couldn't access the photo's here on the computer to do posts either.  So, will be playing catch up.

PLEASE be careful with all your on line activities folks.