Monday, October 29, 2007

Sinister Messages

It started out as a cool fall morning, with the promise of sunshine, (well, at 5 AM it was still dark) and also the promise of a nice day to be spent enjoying the fall colors, lunch with friends, and some light shopping.
I turned on the computer, made coffee, and then carried my coffee cup to the sunroom, where my laptop resides.

I am still on dial up, believe it or not, but not for long. Finally, high speed Internet has become available in the boonies, and I am to have it very soon. But I digress. I sat down by my laptop and clicked on "connect" and it made all the usual sounds as it dialed in, and finally said "you are now connected to so and so net." But it wasn't so and so net that appeared in the dial up box, it was something sinister. A pitch black page showing two hands holding up a severed human head! That was followed by a scary, threatening message written in large red letters, which were dripping blood! Pictures of some famous terrorists were also included, and more threatening words about changing "your" ways or facing the consequences.

I sat there dumbfounded, thinking that the sinister, threatening message was directed at me. I was scared. I was stunned.

I disconnected and dialed my ISP's number. But I could only get the recording saying tech support was serving other customers, and I should leave my name, number and message and they would get back to me. I left three messages in the next couple of hours, while the sinister message was still there, every time I dialed in again, frightening me even more every time I saw it.

Well, I finally gave up calling my ISP and got ready to drive to town to meet my friends. The 20 minute drive is always pleasant, and I never tire of the hilly, wooded scenery along the way. But today, I didn't see the hills with the trees of brightly colored leaves, I only saw the image of the two hands holding up a severed human head. I didn't turn on my favorite radio station. I didn't wave to the occasional car that was driving past the other way. My mood had turned as dark as that page with the sinister message.

I didn't want to ruin a fun lunch by discussing what had transpired, but I did finally mention it. "I hear so many bad things about computers, I'm glad I don't have one," someone said. "Call the law," someone else suggested. "I'd be scared stiff, if I saw it on my computer," etc.
The mood was not good, and lunch was not fun like usually.

When I got home, my caller ID showed three messages from my ISP. I called them back right away.

"It was hackers that got in here. Everyone had the same message. It wasn't meant strictly for you," Michael, the tech guy, reassured me, "And we have reported it and removed it. " I was relieved that
I wasn't the target. Yet, I was the target. We all were. Sinister scare tactics had penetrated even our peaceful, rural area. But we can't allow sinister messages to frighten us, can we? We will not allow it. There is still much beauty in the world, and good caring people are everywhere. And tomorrow, I'll be outside with my camera, taking pictures of some of that beauty.

36 comments:

Michele said...

Oh my goodness gracious, Renie! I'm so sorry you had to experience that ;'( I just can't imagine how I would have felt or what I would have done. I'm amazed you were able to even drive into town!

Thank goodness it's taken care of so quickly, but I'm certain those images won't leave your mind so fast. I'll pray you find peace from it and that those images are erased, or at minimum filed away somewhere in the back of your mind.

Whew, you have had a day of "sinister messages..."

On a brighter note, I love the photo of "Top Cat, Orie" that you've added ;0)

Sympathy and Warm ((( Cyber Hugs)))

Michele

Renie Burghardt said...

Oh, the images are there, Michele. Hard to forget. I'm just so stunned that they hacked a smaller ISP. I've heard it happening in larger areas a lot, but around here? But it did happen, and it was scary and creepy and undiscribeable, really. It might even be in the PB news. I did go to town. I kept thinking of the horrible images in the message, but I went. I was glad it had been removed when I got back. And I was told they're still investigating how it could happen. I don't think they were prepared for something like this. But they will be from now on.

Thank you for the kind comment. And Orie is a cutie, isn't she? Cute and bossy. That's why she is top cat.

Thank you for the symphaty and hugs. I can use them. Have a nice evening.

Renie

Michele said...

Yeah, I can't believe something like that happened around here! And... such a shame that it happened to someone so nice (like you!)

I pray something enlightening comes your way, especially good news emails ;0)

Yes, Orie is a cutie, for sure! Thanks for sharing her with us ;-)

Smiles, Blessings, Hugs, & Prayers,
Michele

Willow said...

Oh my dear, Renie. I am so sorry that happened to you. People are just sick, aren't they? Please try to not think about it. Remember that there are a lot of happy, loving, sweet bloggers out here who are thinking of you fondly!

deborah wilson said...

Renie,

Don't be scared. Just let your ISP handle it (as you/they did).

Also, the US government will be watching for messages/attacks like this.

I don't know how to say this so I will just be blunt - don't ever respond to anything or anyone on the Internet that you feel uncomfortable with. If someone should ever post anything that makes you feel uncomfortable on your blog - delete it. You always have the option of viewing your comments and approving them beforehand and not accepting anonymous posts.

We may see more of this in the future... And it may not be terrorists - it could be someone in USA or elsewhere playing pranks. Be sure to keep a good firewall, security system and anti-spyware on your computer - already, websites can send down malicious or 'joke' code to your computer if you don't take steps to block it. If that happens, your ISP won't be responsible, you will have to have someone remove it for you. Microsoft provides good software for this as does McAffe and Norton.

SANTA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renie Burghardt said...

Dear Willow,

I was almost afraid to turn my computer on this morning, but thank goodness no messages from boogey men again. It was just such a shock, the other morning. But I'm determined to focus on the nice people in my life. Thank you for visiting and your kind message. And it's so nice to see you here!

Blessings,

Renie

audrey` said...

Oh my dear dear Renie.
How are you now?
It must have been a nasty shock.
Those people had nothing better to do.
Wishing you peace from God.
Please take care.
Praying for you...
(((HUGS)))

Renie Burghardt said...

Deborah,

I just can't even describe the feeling I had when I saw that message! And to make certain all my security settings are in tact, I am taking my laptop to our computer wizzard, Patrick, this morning.

Yes, you are right, it doesn't mean they were "terrorists," they could have just been sicko's, but it was to scare people, and they did scare me, and others as well, I'm sure.

I thought about moderating my comments. Michele does that. I hope I won't have to, but will if necessary. And yes, I will delete messages that make me feel uncomfortable.

Thank you for the great advice. I will be much more cautious from now on. Have a great day.

Renie



Michele,

I appreciate your friendship very much! Thank you for the hugs and prayers.

Renie

Renie Burghardt said...

Dear Audrey,

Thank you much for your prayers and good wishes. I am fine, but will be more cautious from now on. You are such a sweet friend, Audrey. Have a great day and God bless you as well.

Renie

Susie said...

Dear Renie,
That is just one of the most disconcerting things I've ever read in all my blogging.
I think your plan of having your computer checked is a good one.
Hope you can somehow replace those awful images with some of the beautiful ones to be found all around us.
((hugs))

Renie Burghardt said...

Dear Susie,

Yes, they were disconcerning to be sure. And Patrick took care of my laptop this morning. Hopefully, it will never happen again. Once was more than enough. But today is a gorgeous day, and I'm thankful I'm here to enjoy it.

Thank you for visiting, Susie. I appreciate all my kind blogging friends.

Renie

Mary said...

Oh, Renie, I am so sorry. That must have been very frightening for you. I can only imagine how you felt, but do know that I would have been frightened senseless.

Thank goodness that your ISP provider was able to take care of it right away. This type of hacking is really a form of terrorism. Yes, there is a dark side to the new technology called the Internet.

I will keep you in my prayers, dear friend and ask that angels surround you and keep your safe.

Have a great week. I look forward to the beautiful photos you will be taking.

Hugs,
Mary

Renie Burghardt said...

Mary,

I was scared senseless, too, believe me. I never want to see a message like that, ever again! A friend here, Ruth, just called me, and she had also seen the message, and was scared stiff. Yes, hacking is a form of terrorism, and when a bloody message with a severed human head is displayed, it's meant to frighten people. And it does just that.

My picture taking today wasn't a great success because there is too much sunshine! I may have gotten one or two that are half way decent. I will upload them to the pc later, and see.

Thank you for your prayers and good wishes, Mary. I'm thankful to all my friends for their kind comments and prayers. I hope Dwight is doing well from the accident with the deer. Take care, my friend. Enjoy the week.

Most gratefully,

Renie

Mary said...

Renie,

I'm glad it is taken care of, but I can well imagine that you are having a hard time forgetting that image. Sick people think these types of things are funny and they definitely are not.

The doctor believes Dwight has a torn rotor? cuff in his shoulder. He wants him to wait and see if it will heal on its own. It is giving him some discomfort and pain, but it could have been far worse. We are counting our blessings.

Take care, my friend.

Hugs,
Mary

Renie Burghardt said...

Mary,

Poor Dwight. I'm sure he has a lot of pain and soreness. But he was lucky he wasn't hurt badly or even killed. Despite our adversities, we can always find blessings to be thankful for.

Thank you for your kind comments, Mary. Have a wonderful evening. God bless!

Renie

GardenGoose said...

so very sorry that you had to go through that.
yuck! I hope that you will surround yourself with beautiful happy things/images and soon forget the ugly images.
May peace and pleasant thoughts surround you.

Mountain Mama said...

They should try harder to find Hackers and get tougher with them. Like disconnecting their arms.

Merle said...

Dear Renie ~ I am so very sorry you had that experience and it was frightening for you as it would be for any of us. Congrats to your isp for their quick work removing it.
Thank you so much for your kind comments about my blog. I am glad you
enjoy my posts. Think happy thoughts my friend. Take care, Love, Merle.

Renie Burghardt said...

Dear Tina,

Thank you for your nice comment, and good wishes. It's so nice to see you here.

Blessings,

Renie




Dear Mountain Mama,

Hackers are hard to find, I'm told. They can be anywhere in the world, and this kind of thing is a fact of life on the Internet, these days. Thank you for commenting. God Bless.

Renie





Dear Merle,

Yes, I'm glad they could act fast to remove the horrible message. Visiting your blog always cheers me up. We must focus on the positive. Thank the Lord there is so much good in the world.

Warm regards,

Renie

audrey` said...

Dearest Renie

Please don't mention.
We're here to support each other in the bloggerland =)

Happy Halloween.

You're a very sweet friend too, Renie.

(((HUGS)))

Karen H. said...

Good Afternoon Renie,
Just thought I would drop by and wish you a "HAPPY HALLOWEEN". I went to Pea's Halloween Bash earlier today and it was wonderful. She is such a great host. Her house was just spooktakular. I am sorry to hear about what happened to your computer. They need to have a person goin undercover to catch all those bad guys. I used to have dial-up when I first got a computer and it was the pits. When you was in the middle of something, you would always get booted. We have had cable internet for a good while now and I love it. I've been under the weather with a stopped up nose and sore throat. I found some meds in the cabinet from when I was sick back in June. I started taking them last night. Hopefully in a couple of days I'll start feeling better. Guess I better go. I am goin around trick-or-treating all my new friends. (hehe). Just wanted to stop by and wish you a HAPPY HALLOWEEN. Take care and be safe my friend.
Hugs,
Karen H.

Renie Burghardt said...

Dear Audrey,

You are so kind and sweet. Thank you very much. I appreciate nice blogging friends like you. Especially ones that like to wear colorful outfits! Hee.

God bless, my friend.

Renie

Renie Burghardt said...

Hello, dear Karen,

How nice to see you here again. Sounds like you had a wonderful time at Pea's Halloween Bash. Happy Halloween to you as well. Hope you will be rid of the sniffles quickly. At least we are having spectacular weather for the little spooks. Thank you for visiting. I appreciate it greatly.

Blessings,

Renie

Michele said...

Hi again, Renie, I just wanted to let you know I LOVE the addition of the beautiful, elegant, "Primadonna, Maya!"

You really have gorgeous cats!

Smiles,
Michele

Renie Burghardt said...

Aww, thank you, Michele! Isn't Maya a beauty? She is a Tonkenese cat, they are a cross between a Siamese and I forget what else. She has some of the personality traits of a Siamese, but isn't as talkative. She really is a little Primadonna! Thank you for noticing my kitty friends. And I always enjoy and appreciate your visit and comments.

Cyber Hugs,

Renie,

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

What a scary event. I have never had such a thing happen.

I am surprised you are just getting high speed. I live at the end of the road to no where (actually the Temagami Wilderness Area) and I have had high speed for three years. It seems Canada is one of the most wired countries in the world. I know we lead the world in telephone useage.

Perhaps, down the line your scary experience could be the basis of a story!!! What an opening and sinister scene for a movie!

I recently stumbled on this site for writers. Are you familiar with it. http://corp.helium.com/cms/whatishelium

Renie Burghardt said...

Philip,

I don't think I could use that in a story. It would just bring it back too vividly. But it would probably make a good opening.

I guess we're behind in the Ozarks. I still can't get cable here, although a friend of mine who lives closer to town has it. So I have a satellite for television viewing, and think it's better than cable. But high speed Internet wasn't available out here until just very recently. I can't wait to have it. It will make visiting my blogging friends who post lots of pictures, so much easier, and it won't take almost an hour to view those kinds of blogs.

I have heard of Helium, and what I have heard isn't all that good. I have never tried writing for them. You do such informative writing. You may want to try them.

Thank you for your interesting comment.

Renie

Mary said...

Renie,

Thanks so much for dropping by my blog and leaving the comments about my Halloween postcards.

We didn't have many kids tonight, but we did have the cutest little girl in a black organdy dress with orange trim. She told me she was the Halloween Princess. Too cute.

Have a wonderful evening.

Hugs,
Mary

Merle said...

Hi again Renie ~~ Thank you for your comments about moving the beauty of the face to the heart. Having good friends is sp wonderful and blogging friends come very close to that. Glad you liked the jokes. Take care, my friend, I hope you are feeling better
Love, Merle.

Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Mary,

Thank you for stopping back. We don't get any trick or treaters out here. Properties are too far apart, too dangerous for kids to be out at night. They go to town to trick or treat. I miss seeing little goblins. My own children always enjoyed it, and now my granddaughters enjoy it.

Wow, November already! Can't believe it. Happy November, Mary!

Hugs,

Renie





Hi Merle,

Always love to see your smiling face, and read your sweet comments. Thank you for visiting. Have a great Friday!

Love,

Renie

Hootin'Anni said...

That WOULD have been so scary and disruptive. But was I was assured by the ISP server, I would have shrugged it off and tried to calm myself that "In a 100 years it'd make no difference anyway".

But, still I'd feel the same as you.

Hope we see some of the beauty you saw here on your blog soon.

Hootin'Anni said...

oops....
I say: "But was I was assured by the ISP server...."

That should read But WHEN I was assured....

Too early in the a.m. for me. ;o)

Renie Burghardt said...

Thank you very much for coming by and leaving a comment, Anni. I appreciate it! I hope your Halloween was the best and spookiest ever. Yes, it's time to move on from the Sinister Messages.

Many blessings,

Renie

Tina Coruth said...

Renie,

How awful! I'm sorry that happened to you. I see from your next post of the photo of your beautiful road that you did sail right past that ugliness into joy.

At first I always feel angry at people who try to force their mean-spiritedness and ugliness on others. But then, I feel sorry for them in a way. If that is the best use they can make of their skills, it seems to me that they don't know joy. Not at all.

I hope you have a great day!
hugs,
Tina

Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Tina,

I was just shocked. It didn't seem real, but it was. And right here, in our peaceful rural area. But you are right, I feel sorry for them as well. People who get a kick out of scaring others, must be very unhappy people. Thank you for the kind comment. Supportive friends make tough times easier to bear.

Take care, my friend.

Renie