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A typical day at ITDullard Towers

My other half is a very trusting person. This is a good thing. I, on the other hand am not. This is also a good thing. This is the way of the world and people are different. So you would hope when you bring these two positions together you could reach a happy medium. Well no not really. In fact absolutely not. You see you have to add and extra twist to our cocktail. We are both ferociously stubborn. So compromise isn’t an option really. In practical terms it doesn’t matter much as on most issues one or other of us gives way. However, there is one environment where we a guaranteed an emotional car crash. My partners laptop is the scene of the crime.

My partner is not in the slightest bit IT savvy. She believes laptops should just work. And in a perfect world I am sure they would, but then again in a perfect world we probably wouldn’t need laptops anyway. So ok this is not a new scenario but there is more. When we throw in her trusting nature then stuff starts to happen. Annoying stuff like Trojan infested downloads and unsolicited phishing emails being opened. There is no stopping her and she won’t be persuaded. I am of course overacting – in her eyes at least.

So last night it all goes pear shaped. Somehow she installed a particularly irritating screen saver. A screensaver that appears to think it is the online equivalent of “You’ve been framed” showing selected home videos that some intellectually challenged person regards as hilarious. So its not funny, chewing up bandwidth and “could you please remove it for me darling?” So I did but I couldn’t stop there could I. I react according to my nature and immediately treat her laptop as if it was and IED and do a full additional malware scan. Triumphantly I wave the laptop at her when the scan claims three Trojans are lurking and I also spot that her browser has been hijacked. So I fix all that but then I notice the webcam light is on but no obvious application was running that would use it. Was it hacked? I’ve no idea but paranoia sets in. How do you check for that? Searching the net for advice on this subject is not pretty. There is plenty of advice from the plethora of sordid creeps that imagine hacking a person’s webcam is a cool idea. It isn’t by the way if you feel the need of a moral compass. Anyway the outcome of this distasteful distraction is that I was going have to figure it out myself. All I could find was a remote access service that wasn’t Microsoft’s. I am not sure if it was part of the bloat ware that came with the laptop or something more malevolent. Either way I dispatched it and rebooted. At which point it refused to boot. My partner is now no longer trusting – (of me) and certainly isn’t convinced of the hacked webcam justification because “IT WAS WORKING FINE BEFORE YOU TOUCHED IT!” This was not a good time to introduce her to the Samsung net book I had converted to OpenSUSE judging by the expletives. Another time perhaps.

Anyway, in the end all was not lost after some start-up files were repaired and now the laptop works. Whether the webcam was actually hacked I will never know but the light isn’t constantly on now. So I feel I achieved something of a victory despite the lack of sleep last night, even if it was just a pyric one. This is also another good thing.

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