My laptop fell victim to spyware. Not just any ordinary spyware either -- this was ADWARE, which I find doubly insulting given my former (or dormant) occupation.
I have no idea how it found its way onto my laptop--but it morphed itself as my home page and took over my browser. I couldn't stop it either and by the end of the week last week, I had no choice but to wipe my laptop and start over again.
It could have been worse but I did manage to lose a few things---items that I overlooked and didn't move onto our network server before doing a system wipedown. Sadly I lost pictures of Peter's first easter egg hunt; but thank god my writing files remain intact.
Having your laptop hit with spyware is a little like date rape. You willingly go with a trusted source and then you get screwed against your will. I have no idea what site I visited that offered spyware to do a drive-by attack, but I can only guess it was something attached to an RSS Reader program (the last thing I downloaded).
To further the date rape analogy, I feel somewhat violated. I mean I have no idea what this fucking program "saw" on my hard drive. Does it have my passwords? Can it see our mortgage account online? I guess only time will tell but I'm not ready to put myself into a witness protection program and stop using online billing as a way of life. It IS my way of life, which is pathetic but true. I've done everything online except meet a mate; and if I hadn't met my husband the "old fashioned" way, I probably would have found one the way everyone else does these days.
So folks BEWARE of SPYWARE. I can't put it much plainer than that. Like a parasite it will find its way in your system and make your laptop very sick. First my browser died; then Outlook; then Power Point (POWER POINT?) Things went so far south, my systems admin took my administrative priviledges away from me. Not to worry though! I still have my PC to download porn! ;-)