Dream Journal : Network Intruder

I’m pretty sure that this one somehow ties into the big tech story about Mat Honan getting his accounts hacked the other day

I knew that something was wrong, but no one wanted to believe me.

We had just moved into our new house and there were a bunch of people over to visit – more people than we actually know in real life. They were all sitting around the kitchen and living room using computers and tablets and whatnot, and at one point I was looking over a girl’s shoulder and noticed something strange on her screen … it had a slight flicker to it, almost like watching a camera go off over and over again. I also saw an icon of a red light in her system tray, but shook it off and moved on…

A short while later, I was looking at something on my wife’s laptop and noticed the same icon, and then quickly glancing around the room, I saw that it was pretty much on everybody’s desktop.

I went into my office and saw that it wasn’t on my own desktop, however when I tried to run some software to analyze traffic on our home network, a text box popped up with a warning. I don’t recall what the warning said, but I immediately ran back into the other room and told everyone to turn off their computers, much like one would announce that there’s a shark in the pool or something!

A few people didn’t listen to me, and when I came back into my office, there were more threats flashing on my computer saying that I was going to pay for interfering.

That’s when I reached over, unplugged the cable modem from the wall, and it all ended.

A few years ago I discovered that my desktop PC at the time had been somehow infected by a hacker … apparently a trojan had found its way onto my system and was randomly sending out SPAM in the middle of the night. I first started to get suspicious when I would occasionally get online notices from my ISP to check for viruses because they’d gotten a complaint about my IP … I mostly just brushed them off and clicked ok until one night I downloaded a trace program that kept track of all of the URLs requested by a machine and left it running overnight. In the morning I awoke to find dozens of entries for mail.yahoo.com and mail.aol.com and so on, and admittedly it was a little creepy to think that somebody was running something on my machine without my permission.

It took me finally wiping the thing altogether to get rid of it, and I always wondered in the back of my head just how “smart” the thing was … whether it simply downloaded lists of addresses and then shot a predetermined spam message out to as many as it could, or if it also did other things like monitoring my activities online or fishing for credit card numbers or something, too.

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