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Thread: Computers, Porn and Ransom Notes

  1. #1
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Computers, Porn and Ransom Notes

    So, a guy - not a member of my Church - came to me in my role as Pastor, knowing that I had a pretty extensive background in computers.

    It took him a while to get around to his question.

    He started with the question about ransomware - how a hacker can put a virus on your computer, and make you pay money to remove it, etc.

    Then it got interesting.

    This particular email threat stated that he had been caught "playing with himself" while viewing a porn site, and they had captured his IP address, turned on his camera remotely, and recorded him.
    It also, allegedly, planted a keylogger, scooped up a list of his contacts, and if he did not send $400, it would send a copy of the video of himself "playing with himself" to everybody on his contact list.
    The email stated "$400 seems like a fair price to save you this humiliation".

    I saw the email - it was very polite, and explained that there's nothing wrong with 'the act', but it would, indeed, be quite embarrassing for all his contacts - possibly even his boss - to see that.

    The guy was quite concerned, while avoiding implicating himself in any way.

    I asked him, "do you usually use a laptop or a desktop when going online". He said he didn't have a laptop computer. I explained, "ok, cause most newer laptops have a camera".
    Then I asked if the monitor he uses has a built in camera - usually not. He looked relieved - no, the monitor he uses 'for that' does not have a camera.

    OK, I continued, do you have any computers that have a camera facing you, that might be turned on remotely? He thought for a minute, then said the only device he has with such a camera is his iPhone, and he never ... um... "views stuff" on his phone.

    I said, "ok, so the threat of somebody sending a video of you doing something embarrassing is pretty much empty, yes?"

    He seemed relieved. But I suggested - "while 'viewing stuff' online, why don't you just pretend that you ARE being recorded, and maybe your behavior will be different". He seemed to think that was a great idea.

    IN CLOSING, I asked him - did you RESPOND to that email, or otherwise OPEN it? He started looking worried all over again. Ooooops! (I knew he opened it, cause he printed a copy to show me)



    Aint' it a crazy world in which we live?
    Last edited by Cow Poke; 02-24-2018 at 07:57 PM.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  2. Amen mossrose amen'd this post.
  3. #2
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    So, a guy - not a member of my Church - came to me in my role as Pastor, knowing that I had a pretty extensive background in computers.

    It took him a while to get around to his question.

    He started with the question about ransomware - how a hacker can put a virus on your computer, and make you pay money to remove it, etc.

    Then it got interesting.

    This particular email threat stated that he had been caught "playing with himself" while viewing a porn site, and they had captured his IP address, turned on his camera remotely, and recorded him.
    It also, allegedly, planted a keylogger, scooped up a list of his contacts, and if he did not send $400, it would send a copy of the video of himself "playing with himself" to everybody on his contact list.
    The email stated "$400 seems like a fair price to save you this humiliation".

    I saw the email - it was very polite, and explained that there's nothing wrong with 'the act', but it would, indeed, be quite embarrassing for all his contacts - possibly even his boss - to see that.

    The guy was quite concerned, while avoiding implicating himself in any way.

    I asked him, "do you usually use a laptop or a desktop when going online". He said he didn't have a laptop computer. I explained, "ok, cause most newer laptops have a camera".
    Then I asked if the monitor he uses has a built in camera - usually not. He looked relieved - no, the monitor he uses 'for that' does not have a camera.

    OK, I continued, do you have any computers that have a camera facing you, that might be turned on remotely? He thought for a minute, then said the only device he has with such a camera is his iPhone, and he never ... um... "views stuff" on his phone.

    I said, "ok, so the threat of somebody sending a video of you doing something embarrassing is pretty much empty, yes?"

    He seemed relieved. But I suggested - "while 'viewing stuff' online, why don't you just pretend that you ARE being recorded, and maybe your behavior will be different". He seemed to think that was a great idea.

    IN CLOSING, I asked him - did you RESPOND to that email, or otherwise OPEN it? He started looking worried all over again. Ooooops! (I knew he opened it, cause he printed a copy to show me)



    Aint' it a crazy world in which we live?
    Simply opening an email isn't going to do anything. Even replying back to it (unless he provided sensitive information) won't trigger much more than more emails. As long as he didn't open any attachments he should have been ok.

  4. #3
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Sorta reminds me of a story my bishop told.

    A teenager came to confession at summer camp (while my bishop was still a priest) and admitted to having a problem with computer porn. He asked the kid, "would you do that while your mother is watching?" The kid: "No!" "Would you do it while Jesus is watching?" "No!" "Jesus is ALWAYS watching." (light bulb goes on) "Oh." "Why don't you get an icon of Jesus, and put it right next to your computer?"

    After a year, he'd gone from 2-3 times a night (while his parents were in bed) to 2-3 times all year. My bishop suggested he upgrade to a larger icon. Next year, he was porn-free.
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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    Sorta reminds me of a story my bishop told.

    A teenager came to confession at summer camp (while my bishop was still a priest) and admitted to having a problem with computer porn. He asked the kid, "would you do that while your mother is watching?" The kid: "No!" "Would you do it while Jesus is watching?" "No!" "Jesus is ALWAYS watching." (light bulb goes on) "Oh." "Why don't you get an icon of Jesus, and put it right next to your computer?"

    After a year, he'd gone from 2-3 times a night (while his parents were in bed) to 2-3 times all year. My bishop suggested he upgrade to a larger icon. Next year, he was porn-free.
    That's kind of a delicate issue at my Church -- about 10 years ago we had a youth minister who was spending a lot of time in his church office surfing porn. This was before I got there, but the Deacon Chairman had a talk with the guy, and the guy resigned.

    Unfortunately, the kid kinda spread the word that he got railroaded, and the Deacon had too much integrity to tell people exactly why the kid got fired. Parents and youth were pretty upset, but they never knew the real reason he left.

    The Pastor and Deacons only found out about this because he got a virus, and another guy in church was a computer specialist, and discovered the porn.

    When my secretary explained this to me, I gave her my password for my church computer, and told her she's free to use my computer any time at all. My wife has all my passwords for my computer at home. I like the accountability.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  6. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
  7. #5
    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    It's kind of sad that people assume these days that everybody looks at pornography. I have been accused of lying for saying that I don't because the idea that any man wouldn't is just unthinkable.
    For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. - Ambrose, 4th century AD

    All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca the Younger

  8. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
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    As for the OP, I remember when I was in ninth grade, one of my friends called me up in a panic. He claimed that his computer accidentally logged onto a porn site and now he was overtaken by viruses. I believed the "accidental" nature of what happened about as much as I'm assuming CP believed this guy.
    For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. - Ambrose, 4th century AD

    All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca the Younger

  10. #7
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    A former boss of mine (and a friend) used to bring me his laptop all the time when he got viruses and stuff. Once with ransomware on it that I defeated by using system restore. And he would get viruses all the time. So I checked his browsing history and he was going to a lot of porn sites. So I told him that the porn sites he is visiting is what keeps infecting his computer. He seemed a bit embarrassed but he still kept getting infected. sigh.

  11. #8
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    A former boss of mine (and a friend) used to bring me his laptop all the time when he got viruses and stuff. Once with ransomware on it that I defeated by using system restore. And he would get viruses all the time. So I checked his browsing history and he was going to a lot of porn sites. So I told him that the porn sites he is visiting is what keeps infecting his computer. He seemed a bit embarrassed but he still kept getting infected. sigh.
    Yeah, when I was IT Director for a gas compression company, some of our offices were way out in the boonies, and satellite internet was all that was available. It was metered, pretty much, and if you went over the data limit, it would get pretty expensive. They needed connectivity to check on units and to send in reports, and the standard data package was plenty.

    A couple of the more remote site FAR exceeded their data usage, and that "budget item" comes out of their district. I had a sit-down meeting with their management, and pointed out the excessive IT expense, and told them it was really easy for me to isolate which shift, and which individual user was chewing up the most data - I suspected porn. Their office manager (my main suspect) got kinda animated, and said "that won't be necessary - I think I know who it is, and I think I can get it to stop".

    It stopped. For a few months.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Right now I am using Acronis True Image 2018 for my backups and it has "Acronis Active Protection" that watches files and processes and says it will stop ransomware.

  13. #10
    tWebber stfoskey15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    It's kind of sad that people assume these days that everybody looks at pornography. I have been accused of lying for saying that I don't because the idea that any man wouldn't is just unthinkable.
    Huh. I read on Wikipedia a while ago that usage rates were roughly 70% at least once a month for men aged 18-34 and 30% for women of the same age bracket.
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  14. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.

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