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The End is Nigh

The End is Nigh

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Published by Charlie Gregory

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Published by: Charlie Gregory on Jun 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/21/2011

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The End is Nigh
I’m in the garden, pottering. Liz appears at the door, holding thephone out to me. ‘For you,’ she says. This is obviously urgent. Idon’t take unsolicited calls and she knows it. ‘It’s a Windowstechnician,’ she tells me. ‘Double glazing?’ I growl. ‘Computers,’ she mouths.I take the phone gingerly. Anything to do with computers givesme the squits. ‘What?’ I wonder. ‘Mr Gregory?’ a female asks. ‘I’m from the Windows TechnicalDepartment.’ She’s obviously in India. She works for Windows, USof A. And she knows my name; the computer age at its very best. ‘You’ve got it in one,’ I tell her. ‘I am calling to warn you that your system has been hacked.How many computers do you have in the house?’  ‘Three.’ I’m walking into the house now. ‘I am afraid your system has been taken over by criminals;hackers, using it for criminal activity.’  ‘Eh?!’ The squits are accelerating. ‘Go to any computer and boot up,’ she tells me.I do as she orders. ‘Have you noticed that it has been runningslower recently?’ she asks. ‘Yeah. It drives me up the wall,’ I tell her. ‘Oh my God. That’s because more and more hackers are gettingin and taking over; all their activity will be traced back to you.’  ‘How did that happen?’ I’m way out of my depth here. ‘They have disabled your Windows Security. I will hand you overto a technician. He will come to your rescue.’  ‘Hmm?’ Scratches head. ‘Mr Gregory?’ It’s a man this time. ‘Bombay Duck,’ says thevoice in my head. ‘That’s where all the best helplines are,’ I tell thevoice. ‘We’re in good hands here.’  ‘What’s going on?’ I want to know. ‘I’ll show you the problem,’ says my new friend. ‘Click the “start” button … now click “run” … now type “Prefetch Unwanted” inthe window that appears.’ I obey blindly. This is new ground to me. I’m a country walkman. I listen to birds and look at cows and things.A page appears on the screen; an endless list of files withmeaningless names. ‘Don’t touch any of the files,’ he warns. ‘Theyhave been put there by hackers. They will use your machine toorganise bank robberies and other criminal activities. Are there areany warning signs on the page?’ he wants to know.
 
 ‘A few dozen,’ I tell him. ‘Oh my God. This computer will crash tomorrow. The other twowill follow within a week. Your whole system has been hacked. Youwill have no computer in the house. Look – I will prove it to you.Go into “My computer”’ he tells me ... Now he tells me to, ‘Rightclick on this … Left click on that …’ opening and closing variouswindows as he takes me through the device’s enslaved mind This journey into the unknown has been going on for well overhalf an hour and we’re not making any progress. If he’s “Windows” why doesn’t he either fix the problem or take me to someone whowill? Either that or start hacking the hackers.Nevertheless it all seems very feasible. This particular computeralways seems to be getting bogged down with downloads. And weare always getting bombarded with warnings about identity theftand computer fraud.However, that single sentence, ‘I will prove it to you,’ ringsalarm bells. Technicians don’t talk like that. Technicians just dothings. ‘I will prove it to you,’ is sales-speak.But now he has taken me to a window that tells me that my “Windows Security is Disabled.” This is worrying. ‘There,’ he tellsme. ‘They have disabled your windows security and taken over yourcomputer.’  ‘But I have McAfee,’ I argue. ‘McAfee is purely for viruses,’ he tells me. ‘These people arehackers – criminals.’  ‘So do something,’ I tell him. ‘That is what I am here for. I will hand you over to the WindowsTechnical Department,’ he assure me. ‘They will save yourcomputers. Simply go to, “Start” … Then “Run” … and type in “www.tech-on-support.com” … Our technicians will fix everything.’ I do this and a website appears on my screen. ‘Dial the numberat the top of the page and you will be through to a WindowsTechnician,’ he tells me. ‘But I thought you were the Windows tech … hello?’ But he hasgone. I look at the number … 0186 552 1065. And below it in bigletters is the announcement “Free Computer Repairs £60.” Free repairs? £60? I like that; Free – only £60; very Indian.I don’t ring the number. The scam is now crystal clear so I hangfire. Sure enough, about ten minutes or so later, our phone rings.My sales friend obviously wonders why I have not taken up hisoffer. I don’t answer. I take a wander to PC World instead.The technicians in PC World are well aware of the scam. But, of course, it’s not their job to turn detective. Sometimes this guy sayshe’s from Windows, sometimes Microsoft and sometimes PC World.But he’s not from any of them – he’s from Cuckoo-land. And he’sfilling your head with cuckoo shit.

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