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My family uses Apple computers.  We have, ever since my oldest daughter got a PC for college that cost more than any computer we have owned before or after.  It was a thing of beauty, huge and important looking. It was 1990, and bigger was better.  The Gateway, with lots additional software met the university’s specifications.  Within a week, it was in the shop with a virus.  A week later Jody crashed the computer trying to delete a document.  

After that, Macs seemed simple.  They asked questions like, are you sure you want to delete and then are you really sure (just in case you didn’t get the message the first time)  Mac knew I was not tech savvy and made it easy for me to keep my family’s computers up and running.

Until last week, all of our Macs have been virus free.  It wasn’t magic and there were definitely things I knew how to do that helped. Such as: never download something based on a message from the company.  I knew to not respond to the message but to go directly to the company’s website.  That Amazon problem alert that needs your bank information is fake.  The notice from the IRS about you non payment of taxes is fake.  I know that, but one day I was looking up something online that said my Flash Player was out of date and I needed to update to play the video I was trying to watch.  One thoughtless click and my Mac had a Trojan virus.

It was every computer owner’s nightmare. All my pictures and videos and all my writing—I meant to back them up— I hadn’t.  It used to be easy with desktops to backup: you just had an external hard drive plugged into the computer and once a week it would make a backup.  Laptops are a whole different world. I got cheap and decided not to pay for the yearly fee for more iCloud storage.

I called customer support at Apple and Eric very patiently talked me down.  He helped me by cloning my desktop and watching what was going on.  We fixed it.  I immediately made a time machine (Apple’s version of drop box) backup on the external hard drive I had sitting in my closet. Two days later the virus was back and guess what my backup had it too! 

I took it to Best Buy. John was helpful but his services came with a big price tag.  I had to pay best buy a $199 yearly service fee. I had to put it on a  credit card that would renew automatically every year.  I had to give them my login information which I expected and I had to give them my Apple ID—totally unexpected. I asked and was told, yes, that information stays in their system.   

For now, the computer is fixed, my passwords are changed, I put a star on my calendar to remind me not to renew the service plan at Best Buy next year.  And I will never, never—I promise— fall prey to downloading anything except directly from a trusted source again.

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