March 16, 2016

Protecting Your Computer And Yourself

Hey guys! Today I wanted to talk about something a little more serious on the blog. Something I have just had an unpleasant experience with and I thought maybe by sharing this I can help others out before something like this happens to them. Yesterday it was learned that our computer had been hacked. This happened because there were numerous viruses and malware on the computer which was most likely caused by visiting different websites and downloading infected files.

I'll give you a some-what quick recap of what went down yesterday..

I was at work and Craig called to let me know that we had a virus on the computer. I said okay and never really thought much about it. I came home, turned the laptop on and was confused at what I was seeing. The first thing I noticed was that there was some kind of strange software on the desktop that wouldn't go away. The weirdest part about it was that it was in Chinese. Next, about 5 different windows popped up displaying different things. After that about 20 boxes popped up saying Security Warning. The warning stated that the "anti-virus program" detected harmful viruses that could not be removed automatically and I needed to call this number to get step by step instructions on how to take care of the problem. At this point I had no idea what was going on and so I thought, well, maybe I should call that number. After all, it was supposedly from McAfee, our virus detector program.

I called and a seemingly nice woman answered the phone and asked what the problem was. I told her and she asked if she could have control over the computer by logging in and doing a scan to see where the corruption was. I said okay and she was good to go. After trying to figure out what was wrong for about an hour, she found maybe 7? or so IP addresses linked up to my computers IP address. She showed me where they were and sure enough they said "Foreign Addresses" and that they were connected. She then proceeded to tell me that these were hackers and that they were the reason for all of the Chinese software taking over my computer. I immediately panicked when she told me they could easily get into any login information I had on the computer. Credit cards, banking, email, everything. I asked her what I should do next and she said "we'll take care of it". Confused I asked, how? And she told me it was something their technician could do over the computer. She then told me everything that would need to be done with the computer and I said okay. It wasn't until she started rhyming off all of these prices to me that I began to feel suspicious about the whole thing. This is how our conversation went:

Me: I can't pay you over the phone for this service
Her: Why Not?
Me: Well because I don't have a credit card
Her: That's okay, do you have banking with a chequeing account?
Me: Yes....
Her: Oh well you can just send me an e-cheque and we'll take care of your computer
Me: Umm, I don't think so!
Her: Why not!?!?
Me: My computer is HACKED! I am certainly not going to attempt sending you my banking information over the computer! Just forget this, I'm going to bring the computer in somewhere to get fixed.
Her: No, no, no, no!!! You CANNOT! Only a certified microsoft technician can fix it. That's us, we must do it!
Me: No thank you! I'm going somewhere else.
Her: Just wait a minute!! I'll get the manager.

A man then comes onto the phone and asks what the problem is. I recap my conversation with the lady and he says "Yes, only we can fix it. Why do you have a problem paying us to fix it." I told him I didn't feel safe or secure paying over my computer which is obviously hacked and would rather take the computer in somewhere to have it fixed. He then proceeded to yell at me and tell me I was ridiculous and that I was just wasting his time and he was wasting mine. I said yes you are! And hung up the phone.

At this point I decided to take the computer to the Geek Squad which is located in Best Buy. I explained everything that happened and the guy told me to NEVER call numbers that pop up- even if they look legit and seem like they are from an anti-virus company. He told me he's pretty sure they were scammers and were in fact the ones who possibly made the "security warning" pop ups appear on my computer.

They had my computer overnight, wiped it clean, put on an anti-virus program and an anti-malware program and I signed up for their promotion where I get full-coverage on anything computer related for the next 3 years for only $15 a month.

It is absolutely sickening what can happen over the internet and how fast a person can hack your computer and do what they want with any information they find on it.

My advice to everyone is please make sure you have a really good anti-virus and anti-malware program on your computer and make sure you actually RUN the programs at least once a week. If possible try not to use the computer for keeping track of really important information about yourself. And my last piece of advice is, don't be dumb like me and actually call a number that appears on a pop-up! No matter how "real" it looks. 

Sorry this post turned out to be super long but I just felt like I needed to share what happened to me yesterday because honestly, computers and the internet have become a huge part of everyone's lives and its so easy to become careless and forget that these things do happen. Be safe when it comes to the internet!


  1. I've seen those pop-ups in the past and my husband had previously warned me about not calling the phone number they provide. He had actually looked it up and it says it's a scam. Good thing your intuition quickly told you that these people were not legitimate.


    1. The terrible thing was, I couldn't even look the number up online because the Chinese software that was downloaded to my computer completely took over everything! Whenever I clicked on the internet browser, everything was in chinese!

  2. It makes me so sad that there are people out there who clearly have nothing better to do than trick others and steal their money and information! Glad you were able to get it all fixed in the end. And thank you for posting, I've not heard of this one before! xx

    Jess in Retrospect

    1. I know! I don't think these people realize how easily they can destroy a persons life just by using their information!

  3. Oh I hate pop ups, never ever ever call the numbers on those. I never have, my sister taught me that years ago as a kid. I had an old laptop that got a virus on it and I immediately just shut it down and took it to get repaired. I have a Mac now and haven't had any problems with it so far, I have Avast downloaded on it and I love it! I love my computer, I remember crying when my laptop had the virus hahaha I'm so weird! :)

    1. Haha lesson learned!! I wouldn't normally have anything to do with pop-ups but because it kept popping up on my actual desktop- the internet wasnt even open- and the fact that it claimed to have come from my security provider, I thought it was legit! haha I cannot wait to save up for another Mac!! We never had any issues with viruses or anything like that when we used that computer.

  4. Oh gosh wow that sounds like a really bad experience! Not too long ago I was on a website and it popped up with a message saying that my laptop had a virus and I needed to call the number that it said. I closed internet explorer but every time i opened it, it wouldn't let me get off the website meaning that the message was still there... it was adware and i didn't know how to get rid of it so i just deleted my whole account and made a new one...
    Aleeha xXx

    1. Isn't it terrible!? It was probably the exact same number I stupidly called haha

  5. My computer has crashed too many times in the last year for me to ever not take precautions anymore... I've learned my lesson!

    Via Sora

  6. Oh Renee, it's horrible when people try and do this, someone tried ringing my dad saying his watch was ready and that they just needed his bank details to send it, he never even ordered a watch and as soon as he said he would get the police involved they hung up, live and learn though ey.
    My card got cloned once and they tried taking money out in peru, thank god I was poor at the time!

    Meme xx

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    1. Ugh some people eh!? I just don't see how they can so easily scam people like that!

  7. I never experienced this as we always have up-to-date security on my laptop but thank you so much for sharing this! People have to be more aware with those who take advantage of others in the Internet.

    Love, Richel. | Richel Goes Places

    1. So glad you have never had to experience this before!