More excitement than I need

Sometimes I yearn for a simpler world where the main thing we had to worry about was a nuclear holocaust – MAD (mutually assured destruction).

Now I have to warn anyone who was associated with me by email or Facebook not to open a video that is said to find me in a compromising position, apparently “looking hot” which would really be something for someone my age, caught on webcam (which I don’t have, as far as I know) and while streaming something really naughty.

I can stop this happening, it is said, by coughing up a substantial amount in Bitcoin by 3am tomorrow morning.

The main thing is, don’t open anything you might be sent about me, because it is almost certain to contain malware.

There was enough in the email to make me think it was not just a joke. I’ve done the best virus check I know how, which has come up with nothing, but I do need to shore up my security on a number of fronts.

So at one level, it’s a serious distraction, on another, I don’t know, my cyberworld may explode.

I did call the police, who only took 10 minutes to answer, said there was something of the kind around and about, so would I like to report it to The Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN)? Except, you can only do that online and don’t report it on a computer that might be compromised. They have promised not to do anything except match it with other information and pass it back to the police, who may or may not do anything.

Yes, they may ask for extra information, but if they do, please make sure you hang onto the reference number they email to you, because it may be a scammer on the phone.

A few days ago those kind people from ‘No More Calls’ rang me on my mobile, and again they knew some surprising stuff about me. Any way the call morphed into being about direct debiting of my Telstra bill, and if I would just confirm my credit card number, all would be well. When I declined, she upgraded the call to her supervisor, who got a bit sharpish with me.

I politely bid her “gooday”, and the call ended right there.

The strange thing was we don’t pay Telstra by direct debit, and it’s not me who pays. So there was some guesswork in their information.

There are so many people out there concerned that life doesn’t get tejus for us oldies!

Meanwhile, until this settles there is not much space in my life for blogging.

17 thoughts on “More excitement than I need”

  1. That is all very distressing, Brian. Its called scareware or frightware and is usually all bluff.

    The only advice I have is to never shutdown a popup window by clicking anything in it. Always control alt delete to activate the system manager and end the process through that system.

    You are doing a huge amount of research which means that you are certain to come across a booby trapped website eventually.

  2. Hi Brian

    I received a similar email a few weeks ago, claiming they had hacked my PC while I was visiting a porno site and that they had used my webcam to film me in a state of manual dexterity and excitement.

    Since their narrative was untrue I failed to forward the ransom money.

    Strange imaginations these scammers have.

    (OTOH if I were currently nominated for a high judicial position in the US, …..)

    Can we please form a recovery and support group for Seniors Wrongly Accused Of Hotness? ?

  3. Ambi, what unnerved me, and still does, is that they had a password that I had used a bit in the early days, and was still in use on a couple of important sites I don’t access much.

    Talked to my IT bloke today, and he said it would have come from sites that were hacked ages ago.

    I don’t remember any of the services I use telling me they had been hacked and I should change my password.

    So now I now what they mean when they say you should change your passwords from time to time.

    Any wayI think we are in decent shape now.

  4. Dear Brian,
    pole sana (Swahili expression meaning: I feel very much with you, an omnivalid response whether your wife died or you are getting married tomorow)! Sounds really threatening, but elicited some rather funny comments, except it is of course anything but so.
    Human creativity knows no bounds, and I fear as the internet jungle continues to thicken exponentially there are more wonders of ingenuity in store for all of humanity. Anyway it is probably the NSA (I’m presently in Chicago, so that is was am Nächsten liegt). Regards! Christoph

  5. Liebe christoph

    We at the NSA prefer to leave no trace, in fact so little trace that you will never know….

    Besides, we are funded generously by our sole benefactor, who actually frowns on any attempts by staff to extort, steal or threaten to obtain cash.

    So please direct your suspicions elsewhere.

    Have a pleasant visit to the USA.
    Your electronic footprint is completely safe in our hands.

    Alles besten,

    Staff no. 5276******
    Public Information and Citizen Relations Outreach Program
    NSA

    motto: We listen!!

  6. Thanks for the Swahili, christoph.

    The exact translation into Australian English, of:
    pole sana

    appears to be:
    You have my deepest sympathies!

    Cheerio, cobber.
    A

  7. Christoph, really lovely to hear from you.

    Ambi, I went to boarding school with Christoph in Brisbane, and university one year, whereupon he returned to Deutschland, where he grew up during the war. While here he acquired an Australian sense of humour, I think, a blessing beyond compare.

    He worked in Tanzania for many years, now has a sister in Oz, children and grandchildren in the US and Norway, as well as Deutschland. So he’s all over the place!

    But really lovely to hear.

    My young son reckons my problem came from the Facebook hack. He may be right.

  8. Brian: Scams like this don’t have to be right all the time and would be ignored by people for whom the claims don’t apply.
    However, they might still make a fortune by sending something similar to thousands on the chance they have done something that they think the scammers have discovered and a mug enough to accept that they can pay to get it eliminated.

  9. John, I didn’t have a webcam, but that would not stop someone from photoshopping my head onto another body doing unspeakable things.

    I was prepared to let that happen if they did.

  10. Brian,
    That’s a great story about your friendship with Christoph. And to be in touch after all these years, especially after the turmoil and tragedy of WW2. Sehr, sehr gut!!

    Please excuse my lack of Deutsch
    A

  11. John

    You’re right, unfortunately.

    Reminds me of something an advertising person said many decades ago. “You may think some of the ads you see are stupid, but that’s of no concern to us. All we need to do is to shift the buying habits of one or two percent of the viewers, and the ad campaigm will have easily turned a profit.”

    I suppose a similar line of thinking underpins any electoral marginal seats campaign: maximising likely benefits from limited cash, with careful targetting.

    Are we putty in their hands??

  12. Ambi: Adds and money have their limits. Someone pointed out to me years ago that it is hard to convince people that they should eat bricks.
    Then again there is Trump and his money.

  13. Advertisers, the media and scammers, like politicians, prefer to use emotions because a certain percentage of people are too lazy to verify what they say.

    To paraphrase, bullshit can travel twice around the Globe by the time the debunk gets it walking shoes on.

  14. I think in Mr Trump’s case it is his lack of money, John.

    There are reports that he was reluctant to put his own money into his campaign, unlike (by way of contrast) Mr and Mrs Turnbull and the Liberal Party in Australia during the last federal election.

    Mr Trump may have made money in real estate: a recent NYT report says all kinds of family tax dodging and shenanigans went on….

    But as to his 2016 Presidential campaign, he harnessed a cost free medium, Twitter, to gain daily publicity, every “gaffe” adding to his legend, sucking the oxygen and rational themes out of his opponents’ efforts.

    He was lucky to have a weak final opponent in Ms Hillary.
    But I think he made his own luck, without needing to draw much on his own wealth. That’s my impression, anyway.

    Not every rich bloke is a big spender.

    I won’t call that “genius”.
    Perhaps “rat cunning”?

    But he got himself elected.

    So all that hype about Obama’s style of crowd-funding and grass roots energising, that we were told was probably going to become so powerful ……. umm, what was that, again? Bullsh*t through and through.

    Political commentators chuck these thought bubbles around: why do we listen to them? Is it because we’re mostly just as confused as they are?

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