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It Happened to Me- Securing your Device

Torrenting can cause way more problems than you think!!

October 18, 2017 9:49 AM

Oh sweet, Get Out is finally out in theaters! I’ve been waiting for so long for that movie to come out so that I could finally stream it online. Pay for a movie ticket? Ha! Why would I do that when the movie will instantly show up FREE online the very same night it came out. I usually stream new movies from a torrenting site. The website names seem sketchy, and glitch here and there, but for the most part they get the job done.

I invited some of the guys over to my dorm room so that we can watch the movie and pig out. There is usually one torrenting site that I like to use when I’m at home, but I haven’t tried torrenting here at UMBC yet. My wifi seems to be a little better at home, but everything should be fine here. When I went to the torrenting website to find Get Out, there were a lot more ads on there than usual. That was annoying because I had to navigate through them to try to play the movie. After all of that, before I could even play the video, I received a pop-up saying I needed to install Flash Player. I could’ve sworn that I had that installed, but everyone was waiting and so I just downloaded the software.

Well, we never got to watch the movie. I don’t know if it was the torrenting site itself, or the flash player pop-up but my computer started to act completely different. I would move my mouse, and the cursor would lag for a very long time. Any program I would try to open, took equally as long to load. The most noticeable part of the whole thing was my internet browser. Instead of Google being the browser, it was some weird knock-off browser. Also, whatever site I tried to go to, like Facebook or my email, I would be redirected to a pop-up site. Between the constant loading, pop-ups, weird websites, and my computer just running so unusually slow, I knew something was really wrong. Crap….I definitely was infected with malware. Not only did this suck because it would take a lot of money to fix, I had A LOT of sensitive information on this computer. My bank account information, all of my passwords, hot pictures of my girlfriend...EVERYTHING.

And to make things worse….a few hours later my UMBC credentials stopped working for my wifi. I then got an email on my phone from UMBC’s Student Judicial Programs. What now!?

According to SJP, I am being charged for illegal file sharing/copyright infringement on campus wifi. I can either provide evidence to the Conduct Officer showing that I was not responsible, or accept responsibility for violation.  Well, I definitely don’t have any evidence that it wasn’t me, so I guess I have to accept responsibility...perfect.

Because I was caught torrenting on campus wifi, I had to pay a $175 fine, and create a poster about copyright violations and peer to peer file sharing. The icing on the cake, was that all of my files were encrypted thanks to the malware, and my computer ended up crashing. All of this, so that I wouldn’t have to pay for a movie ticket. I truly thought torrenting was no big deal, and I was always somewhat aware of the virus risk. Having the malware downloaded onto my computer, and then getting caught for torrenting was the biggest wake up call.

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