Yesterday wasn’t a good day. I received a bill from our energy supplier. This same supplier, AGL (Australia Gas Limited) enticed us with a quarterly deduction of $5.- if we paid our bills ‘paperless.’ Going ‘Paperless’ is now the latest fad sweeping the world. You can tell, by the confident strides of people on the world’s pavements who now go through life totally ‘paperless.’
A common question and a good way to start social intercourse at parties is to ask, ‘are you paperless yet?’ Or, less common and sometimes seen as a bit of a friendly reminder or slight rebuke; pardon me Sir, your lack of ‘paperless’ is showing. At those internet quick sex of Romance and Introduction websites, some now ask to show their PL status. ‘Gent, 68 years of age, fully PL and NS, NG, ND desires a nice fulsome woman with some desires to go PL, seen as an advantage but not necessary for a jolly relationship.’
Yesterday was also the inauguration of our latest acquisition, a mini-pizza oven. We always wanted to get back into pizza’s and pizza cooking. This pizza oven fits on a table and made in Mexico of stone. We bought some special hardwood kindling. We thought we would first try out some marinated Angus Porterhouse with foil wrapped spuds and a couple of red capsicums.
This was before the ‘not so good’ came about. Let me explain. I usually hold off going to my computer to check e-mails or the latest hurricane making landfall. The coffee and early mornings’ spousal natter always takes precedent. After the ‘how did you sleep’ with ‘how often did you go to the toilet’ gets over, we heave ourselves from the sofa. Milo knows the ropes and precedes us going upstairs. Milo is followed by Helvi and then me. We switch the computers on. Milo slinks under our desk. It might be another two hours before we take him for his walk. He knows and resigns to this routine. He still gets miffed why this takes so long.
After I perused the news and open the inbox for a flurry of messages to blacken up my screen. I delete many, especially the enticements for Twitter and Facebook paraphernalia. I do answer most of the kinder posts and gradually follow the black list of inbox mail to the very bottom. One of the E-mails was by AGL to pay a bill and take advantage of doing so ‘paperless.’
‘Download your Statement,’ it urged me on, in its devious and pernicious manner. It also said; Thank you! (including the exclamation mark) THAT should have been a warning. But, I am not the sort of man that picks so niftily up on the mind of criminals. True, I do pick up deviousness in Strata monsters and have a well developed sense of people drunk on Body Corporate power, but for serious internet crime, I remain pure.
As soon as I pushed the ‘download’ on the AGL bill, all hell broke loose. I was asked to ‘run’ and ‘open’ the statement, but no statement came. I pushed again and again. Then a warning popped up to draw my attention that my files hade now been locked and encrypted. I needed to pay money to unlock my files within 72 hours. If not paid within that time, the amount would be doubled. I was given an ultimatum. It also infected my home-screen with the above message. I could not get out of it, no matter how I closed everything or re-opened again and again. I was so furious and spent hours googling for an answer. There are lots of help lines and web- sites. They too are often Malware/Ransomware sites. It is a mine-field out there. Microsoft did not give me much hope. They did say that many just pay up and get their files back.
Anyway, I have an American Friend from California. A man who from way back was interested in computers before they even came about. He steered me by phone to do this and that but mainly go through a very long scanning process. Each time I had pressed the ‘download’ button I invited the ransomware virus. It finally went and my home screen is again showing Milo. There was still time to fire up the Pizza oven and it was fantastic. The meat and spud just timed perfectly. The capsicums nice with just a hint of charcoaled skin.
All is well, but it came close to murder.