Monday, February 11, 2013

Could I Have Accidentally Viewed Illegal Porn and Not Remember?

I'm not sure many of you could ask yourself the above question with a straight face, but last week, I encountered this very dilemma. You see, a strange thing happened to me at work the other day. Here I was, minding my own business (which may have been the problem, since I technically should have been answering work emails or something), chatting with a co-worker, about of all things...olive oil.
So, we are having this conversation and I told her I'd show her the website I had ordered some bottles off of and I did a Google search. The website comes up in the search and I click on the link. Up pops this pretty little website, all purple and shit, followed by a totally legit looking pop-up screen that says that a Trojan virus attack has been detected and I should click ok to clear.....which I did. Two seconds later, another pop-up appears saying the same thing but now there are 2 Trojan viruses detected. I click ok again...Big Mistake.

This appears...

Now, this picture does not do justice to the confusion and fear I felt when this screen overtook my computer. And you probably can't read everything it says so I give you the highlights:

-It starts off with the title "Internet Child Complaint Center" followed by "Department of Federal Bureau of Investigation"
-Then it starts spouting off some penal codes like "You have been illegaling viewing or distributing copyrighted content, thus infringing Article 1, Section 8, Clause B..."
-Then it says "You have been viewing or distributing illegal Pornographic content (Child porn, Zoofilia, etc.)"
-And then it basically tells me I'm going to jail.

So, a thousand things cross my mind, all while my coworker stands next to me in horror. "It was just an olive oil site. I've been in the store. Those ladies seemed normal. They told me it was BYOB (Bring Your Own Bread). Could that have been code for Bring Your Own Child Porn or Pictures of people having sex with animals? Side note - I just assumed "Zoofilia" meant people having sex with animals. I later looked it up and found out that it is in fact, Spanish, not English, for having sex with animals.

These thoughts came fast and furious, all while I'm frantically hitting the esc button to try to make it disappear to no avail. I even shut down the computer and tried to restart it but the screen came back. In the meantime, another coworker walks in my office and I'm left to explain why I am being accused of viewing porn at work.

Now, here's the best part. This coworker actually says to me, "Now wait. Do you think maybe you ran a search for your developmental psychology class on children and somehow stumbled....." And I actually start to defend myself. "No!!! No!!! I was trying to show Colleen this olive oil website. That's all." But in the back of my mind, I'm furiously running a mental catalog of everything I've ever looked at on the computer because...could she be right???

Then we notice (see photo) a drawing of a webcam and a microphone with a caption that reads "ALL ACTIVITY OF THIS COMPUTER IS BEING RECORDED USING AUDIO, VIDEO AND OTHER DEVICES".  And we actually start scanning the frame of the computer. And then Erin (my accuser) points out the computer doesn't even have a webcam or microphone. Maybe, just maybe, I've been scammed.

Then I notice that, according to the screen, if I pay the FBI some money, this will all go away (see bottom of photo). And then I start to think that I don't think the FBI would actually advertise accepting bribes.

At this point, I realize that instead of clearing the virus, I may have actually set it off, But I'm still stuck with going to tell the higher ups that I am now being watched by a line drawing of a webcam all because I wanted to show Colleen some olive oil. I've had prouder moments at work. But...not many funnier ones.

My computer was shipped out and I still don't have it back. I commandeered my part time supervisor's laptop since he's only in one day a week and he arrived today to no computer of his own. And then I had to tell him that I really wasn't looking at illegal porn. And what Zoofilia means.