I’m posting this on every blog that I write for. If you follow all of Loopy Loo’s blogs, you’ll see it more than once!
Did you have to read the book, “1984” by Orson Wells when you were in high school? We did.
The only thing I recall about that book was that the government installed cameras in everyone’s home so they could keep an eye on the citizens.
“How absurd,” I thought.
I was only partially correct in my thinking.
Today most homes in first-world countries…and many in third-world…have cameras in their homes.
The government didn’t do it, though.
We did it to ourselves.
Last year, my youngest son got quite a scare – and I got a wake-up call:
“Mom, um, I’m in really big trouble,” Rob said with a tremor in his voice.
“What’s up, Rob?” I asked.
“Well, I opened my laptop this morning and this was on the screen. It’s from the FBI. They locked my computer and it will cost $400 for me to get it unlocked.”
“What? That’s not right. Let me see.” I stepped over to his computer.
Sure enough, there on the screen was a very official-looking notice from the FBI. He was accused of either publishing porn, looking at child porn, or pirating movies.
“Rob, it’s a scam. Were you doing any of those things?” I asked, giving him “the look.”
“Well, I was watching a movie on this website. It was only rated PG-13,” he confessed.
“And did you buy that movie?”
“Well, no. You can go to this site and watch any movie you want. You don’t have to pay for it.”
“If you didn’t buy it, then you stole it. Consider this a slap on the wrist from the Lord and don’t steal movies anymore.”
“But I’m in big trouble, Mom. This notice is from the FBI. They’ve even got a picture of me watching the movie…look! Am I going to have to go to jail?”
“Rob, this isn’t how the FBI operates. If you’re in trouble, they come an confiscate your computer. They don’t just lock it up – and then charge you $400 to unlock it so you can continue your illegal activity,” I explained.
“But, Mom, they’ve got my picture…and this is the FBI,” his voice rose with every syllable, his hands shook like leaves in the wind.
“Hold on a minute. Come here.” I walked to my own laptop and got online.
I typed, “FBI Scam” in the search bar. Several website options and warnings about the notice instantly appeared.
“See – it’s a scam.”
From there we did all we could to remove the malware or virus or whatever it was…to no avail. The hard drive had to be wiped, and the original programs re-installed. Even then, it never worked right and was junked soon afterward. What a pain!
The thing I wanted you to see is that the camera on his laptop was accessible by others.
Further, my daughter relayed the story to some friends who were a few hundred miles away. Her friend’s husband said, “Just a minute.”
When he returned to the phone, he said, “Hey. Do you always wear sweats this late in the day?” He went on to describe exactly what she had on, and where she was standing…
…and they were a few hundred miles away, like I said!
Dumbfounded, she asked, “How do you know what I’m wearing?”
“I used your computer. I’m guessing it isn’t even on. Am I right?”
“No, it isn’t on. How did you do that?” she asked.
He said, “There are ways. If I can do this – being a rookie – certainly others can as well. Cover up your camera when you’re not using it.”
A word to the wise is sufficient.