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Wednesday
Jul222015

A Warning!

Yesterday, at 8.15am, I opened my email in-box.

There were 15 items. Right in the middle was a normal email from Ben Dunlap. The text read - "Here is your statement attached, for July. Thank you. Ben Dunlap.

I thought - sounds a good and legitimate communication. State of mind at the time - empty!

Actions - open attachment to see what was in my July statement from 'Ben.'

Consequence - complete corruption of my database.

Subsequent communication from Ben - "Your database has been corrupted. Do not, repeat, do not take any action to restore as this will result in the complete destruction of your data. Follow these instructions and all will be well. "

There followed a further instructions on a following page that required me to forward funds to an address. 

My reaction - total shutdown of senses, and rapid restoration of mind functions. 

Rang Ed at Computer Network Systems who warned against taking any precipitate action, and to bring my desktop unit, and 2 Terabyte back-up unit in ASAP. He warned that restoration was not always successful, and payment was both futile and repeating. 

Much 'binding in the marsh' in the meantime.

Two hours later Ed rang to say complete restoration achieved.

Two lessons:

1. Anyone operating a any size of system without a separate hard-drive backup is asking for trouble.

2. DO NOT - I REPEAT, DO NOT OPEN ANY ATTACHMENT FROM ANY ONE YOU DO NOT KNOW - NO MATTER HOW INNOCENT THE NAME APPEARS.

Okay, we all know these things, but until it happens to you, the importance of these warnings does not necessarily enter your head.

I don't mind admitting that I felt a total idiot having to confess my sins in regard to the attachment. Fortunately, I was able to remain smug about the back-up. And I bought my first computer - an IBM Jr. 125k in the US in 1985 - that is one long learning curve!

My thanks go to Ed and David at CNS - they are excellent operators who have extracted me from similar predicaments in the past, even if not quite as dramatic.

Also, my fully paid AVG protection had allowed over 500 separate intrusions on to my hard drive - sobering information. I have changed to a recommended alternative. 

Let this be a warning - similar data-busting infractions are common -  it has become a quite lucrative scam apparently. On closer examination, the country of origin was mz. - the wonderful democracy of Mozambique!

You can all stop laughing - right now!

 

 

 

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