Ted Shiress


Posted on | April 5, 2016 | No Comments

Ever been told to ignore dodgy-looking email attachments? I’m sure you have, but in the days of spam filters and anti-virus it’s easy to ignore such advice if a particular message catches your eye – just like it is to avoid backing up. And so yesterday I received an email saying I owed £900 for a fridge from a lawyer at a firm called ‘Life After Loss’, and weirdly it was addressed to me but at my parents’ address (in London, where I haven’t lived for a decade!). Stupidly my mind started making bizarre connections and asking irrational questions: ‘Why to my parents’ house?, Well, I don’t put it past dad to order something using my email to save him signing up’, ‘I remember my folks buying a new fridge’, ‘Life after loss? Well I lost my grandad two years ago, maybe it’s something to do with money he left’, ‘Yeah it’s probably a scam but why not look at it? It passed my spamguards and if it is still dodgy my anti-virus will zap it. It’ll make for good comedy no doubt!’. And so I downloaded this measly little Word file expecting that the very worst outcome would be AVG Antivirus shrieking “THREAT DETECTED, FILE IS NOT SAFE!”.

I was so wrong. AVG was blissfully unaware that anything was up, but it was. It turned out to be ‘Ransomware’, as soon as I viewed the file (which turned out to be some stupid terms and agreements) my computer started processing like shit and every file on my desktop turned white; I quit and discovered this to be apparent in every folder for every file bar mp3s and PDFs (and that would be just bearable if my entire 500+ manually ripped albums were in mp3 not AAC). I now cannot access my music, my comedy routines nor the original files of the Youtube videos you never watch.

Every folder now contains this html file with this lovely little message.


Basically ‘Pay up or you’re screwed’. At first I didn’t believe it and assumed simply googling ‘Maktub ransomware’ would tell me how to zap the problem – and it did, well one of the problems. I found thorough advice on how to remove the bug, which seemed to work and I’m reasonably sure my PC is no-longer infected. Still cleaning the computer is different to de-fucking my files. They remain as inaccessible as the buildings I should spend more time blogging about and nothing can change that. Apparently each attack works in a different way making it practically impossible to break the code, so I’m fucked.

One of the great ironies here is the ‘ransom’ itself, starting at 1.4 bitcoins (588 USD) for the first three days before it goes up. I am no way going to pay this sum as a, they are criminals and b, I’m reasonably sure it won’t work; but had it been something like £30 I’d have swallowed my pride, sucked those cyber-cocks, funding criminals in the desperate hope I get my files back.

So I sit here looking at some of my 500+ cd library no longer able to call any track up in three clicks, worrying about how many of my routines I can remember, apologising profusely to those I share Dropboxes with and feeling a total spaz. So, I know you won’t listen to something like this until it happens to you but: DON’T OPEN STRANGE ATTACHMENTS and BACK THE FUCK UP!


Leave a Reply

  • Like Me!

  • Ted’s Tweets