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I think that I am rather knowledgeable about protecting myself from being phished but boy did I mess up.

What is a Phish?

Before I start my embarrassing saga, a phish is an email fraud that looks for-real and trustworthy but is actually fishing for your private information, such as your credit card or social security numbers, or to hijack your email account.

For more information:

http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/phishing

http://www.onguardonline.gov/articles/0003-phishing#how to deal with phishing scams

I could have titled this posting:  What Not to Do on Your Ipad in the Middle of the Night.

It was one of those nights that we all have.  I couldn’t sleep even though I was too tired to read in the dark from my Kindle. (That should have been my clue of danger ahead.)

Toss and turned—-and then got the not so bright idea of looking at my Ipad—without glasses—-in the dark without any light on.   After all , the Ipad gives of enough light—bright, glaring light.

I tried to read the NYT, watched a few YouTubes and then wondered if there were any emails especially from my kids on the other side of the world.  Off to Gmail.

There it was—–a message from ‘gmail team’.  Something about exceeding my limits. Click here for more information.  I clicked.  Still didn’t understand—or see too well.  Getting sleepy.  Clicked another place—UP POPPED AN APPLICATION FORM FOR YAHOO.  OH DEAR, A PHISH. 

The next morning, I booted my regular PC computer, opened my Gmail and right there was that message from the ‘gmaill team’ (which I now see is spelled ‘gmaill’—yes, two l’s —- (If I had seen that during the night, I immediately would have known that this was a phish.)

This time there was a great big red warning from the real Gmail.  DO NOT OPEN, DO NOT  CLICK ON ANYTHING.  I was right.  It is a phish, but too late, I had clicked. But, I had not entered any private information.

A big question is why didn’t Ipad display this great big red warning.

What to do?

I found that Gmail and Google Chrome are not user friendly when it comes to finding help for this kind of problem. At this point, I should have talked to my local tech professional.

Instead, I  did a search and came up with what I thought was a Gmail security online blog.  They told me where to look on the Gmail website and to change my password.  Done.

(I also notified my bank and brokerage of potential problems. Deleted any account information I had on other websites, such as Amazon.) 

Now my story gets worse.  The Shark Attacks.

The next day, when I booted my computer, my Gmail hesitated for a while and then it would start. It did the same on the second day and again on the third day.   I finally figured out that this was not a coincidence.  Something indeed was fishy!

Time to Call in the Internet Security Expert

I already had tried to secure my computer myself through that Gmail security online blog.  Although I have been using a computer for almost forty years, I know very, very little of the technology behind the internet and the computer itself.  I only knew that I could get myself in deep trouble by deleting the wrong thing.  I had done that before.

I called in an Internet and computer security expert.  He dug deep into the structure of my computer—–and found the malware shark.  And, we were startled.

The very Gmail security online blog that I was using to secure my Gmail account had planted a “hook”, or technically called malware, into my computer that could steal information. For more detail click on malware

Moral of the Story

The moral of the story is obvious. Don’t look at emails in the dark on an Ipad when you are too tired to think clearly. I would have seen that the mail looked phishy.

However, there is a much more extensive problem. Even though I have been writing about the excellent online customer service of Amazon and AirFrance, Gmail and Google customer service is terrible.  It is not user-friendly.  It doesn’t exist.

What is really, truly missing is a website, aimed at us sauve,  clueless, users only, that can give understandable and trustworthy online help for technical problems, like recovering from being phished.

Grand Suggestion to Detect Malware

Download the free version of Malwarebytes.  Keep it updated and run at least once a week.  This is just as important as maintaining and running  anti-virus software.

 http://www.malwarebytes.org/

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