Gun Shy

I’ve been wanting to post here for a while, but I’m scared.

Last week NewWifey(tm) was on her laptop browsing online pictures of kittens or hosiery or Menudo or whatever it is that modern women look at these days. Spotting a particularly squee-worthy kitty, she clicked. Immediately up on her screen popped not the adorable 3-week old Maine coon dressed in an absolutely precious sailor outfit like was shown in the thumbnail, but:

“HI!

WE ARE COMPUTER MEN GUYS IN ESTONIA. WE’VE WRITTEN A NEW PROGRAM CALLED ‘SPORA’.

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU JUST DOWNLOADED IT!

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

ALL YOUR FILES ARE NOW ENCRYPTED. IF YOU WANT THEM UN-ENCRYPTED, SEND US MONEY.

WE’RE NOT MAD AT YOU. WE’RE NOT MAD AT YOUR FILES. WE JUST WANT YOUR MONEY. AND WE PROMISE THAT IF WE GET YOUR MONEY YOU’LL GET YOUR FILES BACK WITHOUT DELAY OR HARM.

YOU HAVE TWO DAYS.”

I heard her scream all the way from work, 50 miles away.

NewWifey(tm) did not pay the ransom. She didn’t have anything really critical on that machine, fortunately. Although even if she did, she’d sell herself into white slavery before sending money to extortionists. So she lost about 7,000 pictures of kittens and hosiery and Menudo, or whatever she had in there. Probably porn. But not much else. Still, she was PISSED.

When I got home from work I could practically smell the fury. The acid. As her loving husband, I knew I had to do something. And because I am her husband, I knew only one thing would help.

I guffawed in her face and called her a retarded cow for not knowing how to keep herself safe online and how did she even remember to breathe if she’s that stupid until she got so mad that she chased me around the kitchen island with my good Dexter boning knife until she got dizzy and collapsed on the floor hyperventilating and nauseous.

Thank you” she said when her color came back. “That helped.”

“Anything for you, babe” I said. “Do you need more, you stupid fucking moron…?”

Her eyes narrowed. “I said I’m fine. Don’t press it.”

“Just trying to help, babe.”

Crisis over.

But it got me thinking. If NewWifey(tm), who’s Mrs. Smarty McSmartypants when it comes to computer stuff, can get taken like that, what chance do I – who still can barely find the “On” button on his 9 year old PC –Β  have of not being skinned alive? My god – I might lose all my RedTube bookmarks!

How does all this tie in to my not wanting to post here lately?

Well, see, at work a little while ago I had to read a story about WordPress being hacked. Hacked BIG time.

Even though I read the copy flawlessly (of course), I had no idea what the story actually meant. To me, it sounded like anyone who’s ever even seen an ad for WordPress was now infected. As were their children. And their pets. It sounded bad.

Ignorance isn’t bliss. It’s scary. Did this mean my Dangerspouse web page was gonna wipe my computer clean if I visited it? Was my encyclopedic collection of midget revenge porn going to be shot into space, never to be enjoyed again, if I tried to post a picture of my latest culinary triumph here?? I just didn’t know. I needed to consult an expert.

You’re being a stupid fucking moron” said NewWifey(tm). “You don’t have to worry about this because –

And here she started talking in tongues. That’s my best guess anyway, since I didn’t understand a word of what came after. But I nodded and looked serious, and when she came up for air I said, “That makes sense. Thanks.”

Which is why I’m here now.

But….I’m still not totally, absolutely, unequivocally without a doubt 100% dead certain about this. NewWifey(tm), after all, is not on WordPress. How would she know? (Other than reading the technical details and doing something called “research”, I mean?)

So, ah, I’m gonna ask you guys.

Any of you been hacked? Do you know anything about this? Is it something that affects us Basic Level non-commercial users, or just the Money Machines? Do I have to worry that some 14 year old in a suburb of Bucharest has found a back door vulnerability into my site and is now directing all my embedded links to some guy advertising dog killing services on the Dark Web?

Will my beloved readers lose all their porn?!

I can’t let that happen.

I do feel safe posting this written stuff at least, now that NewWifey(tm) assured me that…whatever the hell it was she said. But I still feel kind of ill at ease posting links (oh what the hell, except for this one to today’s Daily Prompt: Awarejust don’t click on it if you don’t need a professional puppy killer) or pictures of food that’s better than yours. At least until I get assured that it’s safe to do so by someone who can dumb it down for me. Way down for me. No – lower than that. Think “algae”. That low.

Anyone?

.

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23 thoughts on “Gun Shy

  1. Fuck knows – I can’t even get rid of the underline. I find a lot of stuff about online security is made up of words I thought I understood arranged in an order that totally obscures their meaning. On the plus side, anyone is welcome to my identity – it comes with a two grand overdraft and no chance of getting any credit ever again, so good luck and enjoy. If you know how to get rid of the underline… x

    Like

  2. My WordPress seems fine . . .

    I assume you changed your password as a first step. That’s my first recourse when I can see I’ve been hacked. Then I run something like Malwarebytes and then I figure “good enough”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay – tech geek here. I build computers and eat WordPress for lunch. Short answer? I had one of my sites hacked – due to my own negligence, mind you – but the likelihood of your site being torn asunder by script kiddies with too much time and too little regard for radio? About 0 to the 23rd power. Nil. Not happening. Because this:

    1. You are on WordPress.com. That means the people who actually MAKE WordPress do all your updates and block the foreign kitten-stealing, porn-interrupting, recipe-grubbing problem makers, long before they get a chance to work their way through to your personal website. The WordPress people manage roughly sixteen zinc-zillion (hey it is too a word. Take my word for it.) sites they have to keep working. Trust me – they ain’t taking chances with a pimple-faced kamikaze coder from Whoopzikistan. You’re surrounded by an electric fence, topped by razor wire, and backed by Donald Trump golden showers porn to scare off any potential interlopers.

    2. My websites are NOT on WordPress.com. I just downloaded the program WordPress and installed it on my own server. (For the record, a server is just a computer, like your laptop, except it’s setup to let other people come there on purpose and see the stuff that’s on it.) Because I downloaded and installed the program on my own server/computer, plus added a bunch of extra bling and a special paint job, it’s my job to do all the updates that have to be done. Because when WordPress sites get hacked, 99.99999% chance it’s because somebody hasn’t updated the program since the Nixon administration.

    3. I got hacked because I got lazy and let an update slide, because unlike you, I’m uber-geek and literally own 22 of my own websites, plus manage umpteen for other people. I ALWAYS do the updates to other people’s sites and to my main websites. However, I’ve got some “oh shit, I forgot I did a test there” sites I buried so deep they’re in danger of finding Jimmy Hoffa, and it’s one of those that got slammed. Luckily, I have what’s tantamount to an antivirus on my websites, so despite my brain fart, the website Ebola didn’t get too far before it hit an impenetrable don’t-fly list.

    Er… sorry about the mixed metaphors there, but it’s the best explanation I could give you without devolving into geek speak..

    Bottom line: you got no worries about WordPress. Your porn habit, on the other hand, exposes you (pun intended, with relish) to all kinds of malicious things, and viruses for your computer, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh – and while it’s theoretically possible you could link to something malicious, it’s not too likely based on the links you generally include on this blog. If porn – yes, an absolute real possibility. A few years back I had to completely rebuild the same work computer, three weeks in a row, and when I asked my boss where he was going online that it kept getting hit by this particularly obnoxious malware? Yep, a porn site. I shrugged, rebuilt the computer again, and this time both introduced him to some less vulnerable browsers and added a few layers of digital prophylactics to the build. Problem solved, for as long as I was at that radio station. Scuttlebutt was that a few months after I left, the entire internal network got infected. I didn’t laugh. Much.

    But I digress. The probability of a hacked food blog, while it exists, is on the low end of the scale. Again, however, it all boils down to whether or not the website owner has somebody tech savvy who’s keeping their website up to date. Because in my tech capacity I’ve taken phone calls from churches with porn banners across the top of their pages, and it wasn’t intentional. I also got a phone call from a porn site that got hacked, so when visitors got to their page they DIDN’T get porn. So it all kind of balances out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok, I hit the “Like” button. But it was more an indication of how impressed I was with the volume of your reply, not the content. Don’t get me wrong – I’d bet my left nut (in a jar on my wife’s nightstand) that every. single. sentence. you wrote in those two Norse epics were irrefutably correct. But other than the Trump pee joke (hilarious!), it was pretty much just a word salad. To me.

      However, I printed both off and showed them to NewWifey(tm). She read through them and the first thing she said was, “Are you boning this chick?” I told her “no”, and she said “Good. She’s out of your league.” Duh. Like I didn’t know that already. Anyway, you get the Wifey Seal of Approval – she’s blown away by your credentials and your explanation. So thanks! (Although she’s nervous about her own porn habits now, thankyouverymuch. Women! Dogs, all of ’em.)

      Hey speaking of porn sites – I recall reading an article a year or so ago in some ostensibly reputable news magazine site about how porn sites tend to be some of the safest on the internet. The big name sites, anyway. The article explained how they make SO much money – more than Hollywood films – that they don’t want to risk killing the goose that lays the Golden Johns. So they invest heavily in security. They worry that if there was a perception that virus and malware infections were rampant in their industry, it would sink the whole ship. The article concluded, after seeing the operations, not just conjecture, that sites run by Porn Hub et al were actually some of the safest you could visit. Smaller operations might be extremely suspect, but the Big Players employ pretty robust protocols to keep their clients coming (back).

      Anyway, seriously, thank you for allaying my fears. I knew as I was writing this that it would spur you into action, and I wasn’t disappointed. You rock!

      πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here’s the porn trick to stay safe:

        Type whatever disgusting fetish it is that you have, followed by “tumblr.com”

        If you stay on tumblr, the chances of you getting infected go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down. Well, your PC, anyway.

        I do the tech-geek thing, too, and I have a brother-in-law that seems to love cheerleader porn. I had to fix his PC about 30 times before I finally had “the talk” with him; haven’t had to do it since.

        And Tumblr has everything as far as porn goes.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m not familiar with Tumblr (no “e”?), but if it’s called that, of COURSE it will have cheerleaders.

          Thanks for the tip, o’ Sage of Smut! And just for the record: it’s not disgusting.

          To me.

          Like

      2. I tried to dumb it down for you. I truly did. Glad NewWifey(TM) was able to take that and run with it.

        I’m sure you’re right about the big porn sites, for the reasons you cited. Still, not a bad idea to install an anti-ransomware program on your computers as added insurance. Malwarebytes has a good one – it also kills all the trackers and spyware after you visit sites – because while they’re not technically malicious, the cookies most sites dump on you are all about following you everywhere you go online. All the crap they dump into your computer also slows the computer down, for the record.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks!! And yes, you did dumb it down for me quite heroically. I actually even understood the vast majority of it despite myself (and despite how I comically portrayed it). Thank you for that πŸ™‚

          I do have the Malwarebytes free edition loaded on my little PC here. So far, so good. But then, I don’t go clicking on kitten pictures….

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  5. My long-lost website (danjeruskurves.com) was powered by WordPress but I *think* on a private server. All I know is that one day in 2013 out of nowhere it just flat-out disappeared along with many others. I tried to contact my web host (Pete Lucas) via email and also directly on Facebook, but never heard back. At some point in there, I got an email from an outfit called “Direct Hosting” with all kinds of claims about administrative changes, again, I couldn’t get a confirmation from Pete. No idea what all that was about. Poundhead, any ideas?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right – it sounds like you were renting space on somebody else’s private website account, and they let it go “poof” one day without backing it up. Rather than face the wrath of all those pissed-off people who paid for their services, they skipped town. Direct Hosting may have been the server provider, or might have been something else entirely. Impossible for me to be sure there.

      Like

  6. I agree with poundheadhere… I have a ghost of an old site powered by WordPress and it is toasted by spam that could well be a problem if I let it but then I don’t let anything that isn’t completely right enter my machine. I have some pretty high standards when it comes to invading my cyberspace. On the other hand my little WordPress blog is completely safe since it is under the watchful eye of the bigger WordPress overseers. Sometimes the caste system works in our favor aka ignorance can be bliss

    Liked by 1 person

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