We've migrated to become an Apple family.
It started with the iPhones, then with the ease of syncing the phones to a Mac. Now it's two Air Mac books, two iPhones, two iTouches and an iPad.
One of the big draws has been the lack of viruses and worry about suddenly having your PC compromised or infected. We were confident in this, until this past week.
One Sunday, Lindsey tried to log on to the Mac only to get the following message when she opened Safari:
"Your computer has been compromised. Please contact Apple Support immediately at 1-800-XXX-XXXX."
You could open other programs but could not access the Internet. So Wayne called the 800 number, was on hold for about 10 minutes, and then got through to a person who identified himself as an Apple support person.
Wayne gave the person the IP address for our machine and the person took control of it remotely. He noticed immediately that our firewall had been disabled, and after some searching on our hard drive determined that we'd been hacked and that someone had access to all of our logins and passwords.
Meaning our financial security was at risk.
He gave Wayne two options:
- Take the Mac to an Apple store. They would need to send it away to get it scrubbed and put virus protection software onto the computer. It would cost about $149 and we would be without a computer for an estimated two weeks.
- Allow their personnel to install this software remotely right at this instant. It would cost a little more, $199, but would be done immediately, security would be restored and we wouldn't have to go without our computer.
Three hours and $200 later, the Mac was ours again.
The next morning, I questioned the validity of this whole process.
Hmmm...so how hard would it be to install a program that makes a message pop up saying your PC has been compromised, and give a false 800 number for you to call? Then have the person on the phone give you the worst possible scenario and offer to charge you $200 to "fix the problem?"
And really, when is it every more expensive for someone to fix something remotely, and cheaper to send it away? Usually it's the opposite, as companies don't want to have to spend time and money on the logistics of shipping and tracking their products to get them fixed.
It reminds me of bullies who offer to "protect" weaklings from bullies. Meaning from themselves.
But no matter, we have the virus protection software, we're out $200, and our peace of mind has been restored.