Shortly after lunch, the phone on my desk rings, so I pause what I’m doing, stopping in the middle of typing my next linux command, and answer it.
Phisher: Is this Eric F-Ox?
Me: Yes …
Phisher: Good evening sir, I am calling from the Microsoft Security group …
Phisher: Sir, we, at Microsoft, take security seriously, and this is no laughing matter.
Me: (glancing at my Linux laptop) … okay …
Phisher: I am calling because we have seen a lot of viruses being transmitted from your Windows PC …
Me: OH MY GOD!!
Phisher: We ask that you take this issue seriously, or we may be forced to revoke your Windows registration.
Me: By all means, lets take care of this now!
Phisher: Sir, we want to ensure you are safe from viruses. Are you sitting in front of your computer now?
Me: Yes, yes I am.
Angela, in a loudly hushed voice: Keep him on the phone just a bit longer, the trace is almost complete!
Phisher: (unphased by Angela’s comment) Do you have a Internet connection?
Me: Of course I do, that’s how I work.
Phisher: I must tell you, that although we can help you locate the virus for free, there may be a small charge to help fix it.
Me: What do I need to do? Is there some software I need to buy? How much is it? can we order it now? Where do I send the check?
Phisher: There is no need to purchase anything now.
Angela, loudly hushed again: The trace is complete, I’m calling the police!
Phisher: (either not understanding or choosing to ignore Angela) Please go to your computer, what program are you running?
Me: I’m there, I’m still in shell.
Phisher: What program are you using?
Me: Shell. I have the shell window opened. That’s how I use it.
Phisher: … o … kay, please minimize all your windows and go to the main Window.
Me: (minimize everything) Okay, done. I’m at the main window, nothing but the X desktop and a number of file icons.
Phisher: Now click the Start button, and …
Me: I don’t have a Start button.
Phisher: … then click on the button with the Window on it.
Me: I don’t have a button that looks like that.
Phisher: … okay … okay, look on your keyboard at the lower-left, there should be a key that says C-T-R-L …
Me: Yes …
Phisher: … to the right of that button should be the launcher button with a Window’s icon on it, do you have that?
Me: Yes, I have that button.
Phisher: Please press that button and the R button.
Me: (pressing the launcher button, then the R) … okay, now I’m at the search function.
Phisher: … you should now have the “Run” window …
Me: No, I have the Search function … which seems to be searching for the letter “R”.
Phisher: … you are using Windows 7, right?
Phisher: You are using Windows 8?
Phisher: Windows XP?
Phisher: What version of Windows are you using?
Me: It’s called Linux.
Me: Yes, Linux. It is historically very similar to UNIX, which was developed by AT&T and a number of universities back in 19…
Phisher: Nevermind, good night. (click)