I, CLONE – Marilyn Armstrong


So my clone went to the police station this morning to report being hacked. It wasn’t a crime because I was massively inconvenienced, but nothing was stolen. They tried, they failed.

I spent all day yesterday until the wee hours of the morning trying to reconstruct my computer. It’s now about 75% done. I take long periods off because I really hate this part of computing. It’s just boring and you sit for a long time watching percentages very slowly going up, finding the latest version of whatever software you used to use and you try to install like you did, but for some reason, this time is doesn’t want to install.

Some stuff has disappeared entirely and you realize you really don’t remember most of your passwords. Consider the possibility of getting one of the pieces of software that saves your passwords … but what if something happens and IT goes missing — taking all your passwords with it? Don’t tell me it can’t happen. It definitely can, has, and will again in the future.

I am adding this because it proves that I ALMOST have my photography stuff working. Almost. Not quite.

It turns out, the policeman with whom I was speaking got hacked too and his computer is in the same lock down mine was in. Lucky guy, because I know how to fix it. It is very easy, insanely boring and takes FOREVER. No hard choices to make and no requirements of knowing anything about computers. Mostly what you need is endless patience.

I told him. He was figuring he was going to have to go buy a new computer, so maybe I saved him a thousand dollars or so. It felt good to know something useful to someone else.

There’s a lot of this going around and there will always be more to come. I pointed out that Charter, our Uxbridge cable company (we don’t get a choice, someone made a deal and we live with it) has a firewall which — in theory — should have stopped this. But Adobe was hacked. Experion was hacked. Bank of America was hacked.

Given one thing or another expecting Charter to protect us was stupid, but I wasn’t thinking about getting hacked. Viruses and worms — but HACKING? Seriously? Me?

Just because I could do it!

I was afraid of viruses and worms, but not hacking. Why would anyone bother to hack me? We have no money and we are no one special.

Apparently this is a totally random venture. Because no matter who you are, these rat bastards can try to squeeze a little money out of you.

All my credit cards are fraud-protected. I lost nothing. They were also on the ball. Amazon and Walmart stopped the crooks before I knew they were there, while we were at the hospital. Which was when most of this was going on. I’m not sure if my being home would have made a difference. I wasn’t, so it doesn’t matter.

I promised the people at PayPal that I’d go to the police and report it because, she says, they collect the data and it’s important if we want to ever get rid of these rats.

They really ARE rats.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

41 thoughts on “I, CLONE – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. ouch sorry you had this experience … here people are hacking via FB messenger! Using your friends avatar and account to extract as much banking info as they can, mostly from the elderly …


    1. I AM the elderly. I’m not a big FB user and that is one of the reasons why I’m not. I do not give them phone numbers or addresses. But these guys are good. They’ve hacked banks and entire nations, so what use is my home router and Charter’s fire wall going to do against them? I dont’ keep ANY financial records on my computer. They are all in the bank’s records — and while they have been hacked (they had to tell us) — our money is protected there. If anything happens, they are responsible for replacing it.

      AND all our credit cards are fraud protected.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I took down my resume from wherever it lived because that does give lots of personal information and since I’m not looking for work, there is no reason to have them available. There are a lot of reasons you give personal details. Sometimes, you have no choice. But these hackers got in through the router, so they knew stuff I had definitely NOT told them.


            1. It will get worse. I have a feeling that use of technology is going to DECREASE as the threats to our lives become harder to control. These rats don’t have to stop with stealing money, either. They can track us down and actually do us physical harm. Like — invade our homes and murder us.

              We all started doing this when viruses were the worst stuff we had to worry about. This new game is much worse and far more dangerous. Like having a world full of serial killers and stalkers.


      1. It would be satisfying to see these people- in the flesh – get their proper punishment. The Guy you spoke to on the phone sounds like he could use a tuneup. They are so brazen and vicious, uncaring about the harm and damge they cause.


    1. I’m careful. Poverty makes you careful. You may not have much to lose, but if you lose it, you’ll be living in your car shortly thereafter. These idiots locked up my computer out of spite because I wasn’t giving them any money. It’s very easy to replace the OS on a PC once you know how and I back up my stuff AND all my credit cards (they only got ONE and they never got anything out of it) are fraud-protected. So mostly, it was a massive inconvenience and it ain’t over yet.

      It could have been a LOT worse.

      At the least, reboot your router regularly and change passwords. I hate changing passwords and I never remember them. But what choice do you have?


        1. It’s so stupidly simple, I actually laughed. They could publish it on their webpage, but then people wouldn’t call them and pay money. Hint: it involves turning your computer on and off five times. Seriously. On, off, on, off etc. After that, there are a few prompts and a loooooong period of sitting and waiting while it does its thing. The boredom factor is really huge.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. I watched two movies, a baseball game and eventually Garry went to bed. One percentage point at a time, hour after hour. But it worked. THEN I had to try to put it back together. I forgot what a completely naked computer looks like. You want to put it into a onesie so it won’t look so … nude.


              1. LOL… I hate new computers for that. Nick came over the other day, took one look at my desktop and baulked… all my ‘in progress’ stuff is on there… he has two icons 😉


          1. Good information Marilyn, I’m going to do that. I’m also glad you went to the police to report this. This is a crime and until it’s reported they won’t be able to look into it or come up with a plan on how to deal with it.


  2. I had ransomware on my desktop one time. I got out the laptop, went to You Tube and watched a video on how to get rid of it. It worked, but took time. More recently the entire desktop crashed. I have my theory on that, but bottom line is I had a recovery disc and my neighbor helped to get started to reconstruct everything. It took all day as Windows 7 had to run every update from the beginning of time, in order. There seem to be plenty of people with nothing better to do than mess with other people’s expensive electronics.


    1. We seem such an unlikely target for hackers. No money. Not a business. Not famous. And they locked up my computer just for revenge because they didn’t get any money. It’s easy enough to replace windows, but getting the computer set up the way you had it takes time and it’s more than a little aggravating.

      Get a new router. These slimeballs have been hitting private home routers all over Europe and they apparently just got HERE, so anti-virus won’t protect you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mostly it’s script kitties – tweens and teens with nothing better to do with their time. In other instances, of course, it’s serious. My daughter’s credit cards were hacked and a few thousand was stolen then replaced. Fortunately, I have my son to do the work for me, as at this stage of the game, I’ve forgotten more than I know and can see even less. Having said that, Marilyn, my son is willing to set up a link for Our Daily Word, to provide those who are interested with an avenue and in so doing, steal wp thunder. If your interested in being an admin, or in the idea, let me know. I haven’t mentioned it to any others as yet, (except Martha) who is game (not in beind admin though) and to do this, I’d need others involvement to pull it off. Please let me know what you think.


    1. These weren’t script kitties. These were foreign hackers back by the Russians. No, not viruses. Not worms.

      As for the Daily Word, that’s a totally GREAT idea! I am interested, but until Garry’s finished with his surgery, i can’t get involved in something else. But by September … I’ll be definitely ready. Call that a provisional YES.


  4. My son works for a cable/internet/telephone/computer///// company. Fortunately, the routers they provide are pretty complicated pieces of hardware and he adds several levels of security. I’m thankful for that. Because it’s a favourite passtime especially for those interested in illegally gaining your info money and anything else they can get their grimey little fingers on. Tired, exhausted, sorry for spelling errors, they’ll have to stay atm. xoxo


    1. They didn’t get anything from me except my time and aggravation. But these hackers are good. They’ve taken down Adobe, Lands End, Bank of America, Experion — and a couple of states, towns, and the odd country. So whatever you son has done is nice, but if they want to get to you, they will. WHY they would want to is a question that’s hard to answer. The goal is obviously money — but we don’t HAVE money. So they got nothing in the end, but they locked up my computer as revenge. I’ve got three firewalls up … and I doubt it gave them a moment’s pause.


  5. I noticed you mentioned somewhere that in Europe it had also happened with many computers hit by the same gang. I have neither read or heard anything in our news.


    1. I may not have gotten to Switzerland. Yet. But apparently it has knocked over more than half a million home routers. It didn’t reach the US until last week. I was relatively early, but since then, a lot of other people have been whacked too. These guys are really nasty, mean rat creatures.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Nah, not RATS, but (line from “Grease”…paraphrased)…they’re amoebas on fleas on rats (apologies to the good and kind amoebas in the world); i.e. pond scum and lower. Anyone who does that crap to another, especially someone who is inoffensive and is minding their own business; deserves what (IMHO) Karma will dish out to them. I thought of you on Friday night, when an elderly neighbor of mine had the same thing happen to her as happened to you. She does have a little money (not a lot), but her bank and places that she shops like Wal*Mart were on the ball and the thieves didn’t get anything. But. Unlike you, my neighbor is not computer savvy at all, so I went over to help her reinstall all the lost programs and to make sure she could get into programs she frequently uses. Her son in law wiped the old OS (Windows 7 or 8) and put in the (IMHO again) horrible Windows 10; and I got a lesson firsthand of why I NEVER want that bug ridden non-user-friendly P.O.S. on my computer(s). And me? I keep a hard copy of every password I ever have to make up, and have it tucked in a secure, not easily found location. Real life thieves exist too, even in Mayberry versions of towns such as the one in which I live. I’m so sorry for your trouble. I hope for the best outcome. And your photographs? Maybe not up to your personal standard, but to the lay people in the trees? They look beautiful and just fine.


    1. I don’t think 10 is any worse than 7. Garry is still working on 7, I’m on 10. We both have glitches, but everything has glitches — including my Mac, which i don’t like any better than my PCs. Hackers got pissed off with me for calling them liars and refusing to give them any money, so they locked me out of my computer. It was safer to burn it down and restore it. MOST people don’t know how to restore their computers because no one tells them how, but it’s actually not hard — just SLOW. Tedious. Insanely boring. Did I mention boring?


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