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Its Halloween! Spooks, Specters and Spyware!
by: Doug Woodall
It was late, I had put off going to the Software Convention till the last minute. I just had to watch my favorite show on TV,
"S-Files". Its that episode where the Computer Salespeople all turn into Pod People and ,,,,well never mind. Its really scary!
So I'm driving down the lonely one lane road from my house to the Convention. Its dark and the shadows are creepy, I'll never watch S-Files again, I swear!
I pull into the parking lot, the convention is being held in the old YMCA. Geez, its dark, only 1 parking lot light and its flickering on and off. As I walk up to the entrance, I remember the old story about how, back in the Dot.Com days, when they tanked, the building was used as a makeshift morgue, to hold all the bodies of the CEOís who committed suicide.
I get this really creepy feeling on the back of my neck as I go in,,,,oh, its just a Linux software salesman at the first booth. Is it my imagination or are his eyes glowing?
I head to the registration desk to get a program. I see the place is kinda empty, guess cause its so late. Well, I'm here to see who is offering the latest demos and what kind of freebies I can score.
The front booths are usually the big sellers and they never give away freebies or demos. So I head to the back, hmmm, the lights back here are terrible! Here's a booth, Anti-Spyware 4 U.
The salesman shuffles up to me and says "Please take a demo of our new product". I look at it, it says this is the latest greatest software to combat Spyware. I take the CD out of the plain paper cover and look at the Logo. Its just a plain shiny cd? Wow I can see myself in it I remark. "We spared no expense" a voice says behind me, making me jump. I didn't even know he was behind me. Wait, I should have seen him behind me in the reflection off the CD.
I gotta be imagining things I say to myself. I ask the salesman for a brochure about their other products and as he hands it to me, our fingers brush each others. Jeez! His fingers are as cold as ice! Well, he is a salesman after all.
I thank him and head off to the other booths, seeing that I've gotten here too late after all, everybody is leaving. I decide to swing by the refreshments table to see if I can at least get a drink and some cookies. It sure is dark in here I think again as I come up to the table. As I scan the table, a little old lady comes up and asks me if Id like any milk and cookies. Yes Mam I reply. She hands me a little plate with cookies and paper cup of something white. I assume its milk, but its so dark in here! And there seems to be a fog or steam on the surface of the milk. Well beggars cant be choosers I think to myself as I thank her. She gives me a freaky cackling laugh as I turn away, stunned I turn back around and to my Horror, there is no-one there! Where in blazes did she go ?
I'm outta here my mind screams to me as I head for the door at a ever faster walk. In a minute I'm in my car with the doors locked and the engine warming up. Whew, That was the strangest Convention I've ever seen.
All the way home I've got a death grip on the wheel, just waiting for something to jump out of the shadows. Like a IBM salesman, now that would be scary!
If only I had known the other horrors that awaited me!
I breathe a sigh of relief as I close and lock the living room door behind me. Still shaking my head I head over to my Puter to try out this latest and greatest Anti-Spyware Software. As it boots, I get a message to disable my own Anti-Spyware program. I thing this odd, but I remember reading somewhere online that some programs can conflict with others so I comply. After a few seconds I get a message that the new Program is installed and it needs to connect to get possible updates.
So I get online and let it do its thing. A reboot is needed it says, OK so I reboot. The Puter comes up and I get online to check out the latest results of the Mullet contest. what's this ? This isn't my Homepage, itís a site where you can ,,,Holy Hand Grenades! Its Porn! I close the Browser and man alive, I'm beset by about a dozen popups offering me things that, well, no decent person would want. I'm figuring now that I've been had by this Anti-Spyware CD. I do a Restore and get back to my Online Mullet competition site. Then I remember that I need to transfer some money in my savings to my checking account. So I head to the Bank site and take care of it. I must be tired, the puter seems slow to me. I check my mail and the wait to login is frustrating. I decide to call it a night. I'll take care of it tomorrow.
After a tossing and turning night and dreams of my Puter melting, the new day dawns. With a cup of coffee I head to the Puter to see who won the Mullet Contest. The boot takes forever and the login freezes the first time so I have to power off and back on again. I'm really mad by now. I've been had by some sleazy software company! I finally get online but the Mullet competition site wont load. I cant tell if itís the Puter or maybe the online connection. As it dawns on me that I'm gonna have to take it in for service, I hope I've got some extra in my savings to cover it. I head to the Bank site but it wont load either. Then I notice the Hard Disk light blinking away. I'm not doing anything at the time so it shouldn't be accessing anything. Cursing, I turn the Puter off and pick up the phone to call the bank. I get a live person after waiting only 5 minutes so I figure the day may be improving. I give her my account info and she comes back saying "I show that account being closed last night after all money was withdrawn"! . There must be a mistake I say, she checks it again and says its true. The money in the account was transferred to a Bank she has never heard of in ,,,,Transylvania of all places. As I hang up in shock, I could have sworn I heard her laughing just like the old lady at the convention did last night.
I figure I better head to the Police Station to get some help. In a Panic I head for town. As I make the last turn into town, I glance towards the location of the YMCA, where all this started, only to see its not there! Its burned to the ground! Stunned, I stop in the street and get out. Nothing but ashes. The Man in the car behind me gets out and asks me if I'm ok. I mumble I'm lucky to be alive, I could have died in there last night. Puzzled the man says, but the YMCA burned down 2 nights ago!
As I get back into the car, I glance at the spot on the seat where I put the CD and the Pamphlet. Gone. Just a little pile of dust.
At the Police station, a sergeant takes down my story and informs me I've been the victim of online Identity theft. As I'm leaving, A couple of kids run by, in costumes, yelling "Happy Halloween"

Are you scared ? You should be!

About the author:
About the Author: Doug Woodall has a web site at
There he provides free information and recommended products to combat Spyware.
His Website is recognized by Learning Fountain and ISafe
Doug's Articles have earned him Trusted Author Status at
He is a member of the IWA (International Webmasters Association)
Article edited for proper content by Wendy McCallum
Permission to copy ok as long as about author info remains with article.

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