I learned the word keylogger after stumbling into malware that tracked everything I did on computer

By Shirley Prihoda

The Bulletin


My life is full, not only because I shop in the “full size” apparel section, but also with great friends.


There didn’t seem to be a pressing need to add another to my friend list, that is until that fateful day a new word was added to my vocabulary: keylogger.


For those who have never looked this noun in the face, it’s a computer program that records every keystroke made by a computer user, especially in order to gain fraudulent access to passwords and other confidential information.


Once introduced, I quickly realized that I needed new debit cards, a new modem and a new best friend in the tech world. My familiarity with the tech world to that point extended no further than a daughter who works in IT software applications.


There was nothing soft about keyloggers, so I turned to John Toth, the Editor of The Bulletin for advice. I figured he had a vested interest in the health and wellbeing of my computer to meet article deadlines. I could have handwritten them, but by the time I drove from Columbia Lakes to Angleton to deliver them, I wouldn’t be able to read my own handwriting, and I felt certain John wouldn’t fare any better.


John recommended Compu-Tek1 in Clute. So, with a violated heart and trembling hands, I loaded my diseased computer into the car and looked furtively for a police escort. Finding none, I drove to Clute.


Not sure how far the keylogger could reach, I didn’t turn the radio on or talk during the trip, and the hush in the car was rather reminiscent of a funeral.


I am rather attached to my computer, sort of like my granddaughter is to her dog, Posie. I don’t dress my computer or take it to doggie spa days like she does Posie, nonetheless, I do pet my computer and frequently talk to it when articles seem just beyond my reach.


Thankfully, it’s a true friend and doesn’t reveal what I say in those moments of despair.


Now, my trusted friend was lying comatose in my hands as I entered the building and met my new best friend, Albert Sanchez.


With the composure of a Priest in a confessional, he began to question me as to how the keylogger gained access to my computer.


I told him that Microsoft shut my computer down with a warning flashing on the screen to call their 800 number to clear the malware.


With a straight face, he asked if I had done that. Certainly, I told him because it had the Microsoft logo on the warning.


His voice softened as if he was explaining ABCs to a child and said “Microsoft, nor the IRS, would ever contact you over the internet.”


Not only did I own a dead computer, but the intelligence I once thought I had was in serious question.


Realizing that I needed more than a revived computer, he began to tell me stories of others in our county who had lost more than their computers - one to the tune of $650,000!


I could feel myself reviving, although it was probably righteous anger that someone somewhere was sitting in a dark room, probably with greasy hair and toe fungus plying their intelligence to take what wasn’t theirs.


Two days later, computer in hand and pockets a little lighter, I made my way to my home office to fill the empty spot on my desk and catch up over a cup of coffee. I asked if clothes and a spa day would make up for my mistake.


It wasn’t needed, but we did agree not to respond to any warnings or notices going forward, and like a good friend, we decided to keep my gullibility to ourselves.


Sometimes when life happens, we long to return to the 1970s, when the favorite commercial was, “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet.”


Since that’s not in the cards, how about bread that reminds you of apple pie!


Apple Pie Bread

3 Large Apples, peeled

¼ Cup Honey

1/3 Cup Butter, at room temp

1 ¼ Cups Sugar

½ Cup Mayonnaise, not Miracle Whip

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

2 Eggs

3 Teaspoons Cinnamon

½ Teaspoon Nutmeg

½ Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1 ½ Cups Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

¾ Teaspoon Salt

½ Cup Pecans, chopped

Glaze

¾ Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Tablespoon Milk or Cream

½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Pinch of ground ginger

Toasted pecans to sprinkle on top.


For the glaze, combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. Add more powdered sugar or cream as needed to adjust thickness. The glaze and toasted pecans are optional.


INSTRUCTIONS

Shred the peeled apples, enough to yield 1 ½ cups packed firm. Add apples (with any rendered juice) and honey to a small saucepan and cook, covered, over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat to cool to room temperature.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan; set aside. Whisk butter and sugar together for 30 seconds. Whisk in mayo, vanilla, eggs, and spices until well combined. Stir apples and pecans into the batter.


Sift flour, salt, and baking soda together. Sometimes I get little white nuggets of flour and/or baking soda in the bread if I don’t sift. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix.


Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan, then turn out onto a serving plate and drizzle glaze over the bread, and sprinkle the toasted pecans on top.


(To contact Shirley, please send emails to john.bulletin@gmail.com or write to The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, Tx. 77516)