Friday, April 22, 2016

Hacking malware

I got a call yesterday from “The Windows Support Company.” I knew right away that it was one of those outfits that entice the user to put a virus onto their computer so the company can then remove it for a fee. I decided to string him along for a while, figuring I’m doing a public service if I keep him from calling another person.

The guy had an excellent script, but he lacked the skill to detect my irony. I was very amused when he told me that I had an especially virulent form of hacking malware on my computer. Wow. “Hacking malware.” I laughed and told him I was having a little trouble visualizing that, but he pressed on. He was very excited; urgent, even.

He started out by trying to figure out without directly asking, whether I have Windows or a Mac. He achieved this by asking about my keyboard, and I stretched out his investigation by describing the Windows key in terms nebulous enough that he couldn’t be sure I was talking about a Windows key or a Mac Option key. Tiring of the game, I said, “You know everything about my computer, don’t you?”

“Oh yes,” he assured me.

“Then what’s my IP address?” I asked.

“I can’t see that, but I see your Windows License Key,” he answered. “Let me prove it to you.” He proceeded to give me instructions, slowly, in painstaking detail. A dunce could not fail.

I didn’t actually type in the command he asked me to enter. Not into the command window, anyway. I typed it into my browser and found an article about the scam. I knew what he was going to tell me next. Exasperated, I told him “You’ve just asked me to look up a Class ID common to all Windows computers. You haven’t proven anything. I’ve been stringing you along here to see how long I could stretch this out, but I’ve had enough. How can you even live with yourself, scamming people for a living. Can you even sleep at night?”

“No,” he answered, “I don’t sleep very well. I’m very poor and this is the only way I can make a living.”

“I’d like to pray for you,” I countered. “Are you a Christian?” “Yes,” he said, “I am.”

I prayed aloud for him, and he told me he’d quit his job soon.


  1. I heard you went on a trip to San Francisco recently! Why don't you post something about that? Or does it have to be only Boston or Minsk adventures?

  2. ... and now I've added part 2.