My love/hate relationship with Sky News continues apace. Their recent gloomy reports of yet further financial disaster due to the outbreak of swine flu have annoyed me greatly and their insistence on basing the majority of their reports on assumption as opposed to fact is very irritating.
However, I’m happy to say I’m quite pleased with them today for running this story on the frighteningly bad service offered by local PC repair shops.
OK, so the most excitable of news channels still can’t stop themselves stating the bleedin’ obvious…
Some computer repair shops are illegally accessing personal data on customers’ hard drives – and even trying to hack their bank accounts, a Sky News investigation has found.
…but at least they get straight to the point. The worrying thing is that this kind of stuff needs highlighting; I shudder to think how many innocent non-PC literate people are ripped off on a daily basis because of Dell Boy PC repair men who make the same sucking sounds mechanics do when ‘your camshaft has smashed into your valves, mate’.
The findings of Sky News’ investigation were pretty frightening, though. Having loosened a memory stick in a laptop filled with images of near naked ladies and fake bank account details, Sky’s crack team of undercover journalists entered a laptop repair shop in West London and asked them to look into why it wasn’t booting up properly.
Within seconds of the pretend customer leaving the shop, Revival Computers’ staff quickly sussed out there was a loose memory module, reinserted it correctly and proceeded to crack on with the important job of looking through any and all folders with the word ‘private’ in their name. They also unearthed the planted fake bank account details and tried to access the account ‘several times’.
This news may come as a real shock to some, but I’m not at all surprised. Although I work in the I.T. industry and have a healthy understanding of PCs, I wouldn’t even take my PC to PC World to be fixed, let alone a back street shop.
Our PCs and laptops contain everything dear to us these days and it staggers me to think that people willingly give them to complete strangers to fix. At the very least, you’re going to get ripped off. Indeed, one shop Sky News took their ‘faulty’ laptop to explained that it would need a new motherboard at the cost of £100.
I can only offer one piece of advice. I doubt there are many people out there who don’t know someone either in their family or amongst their friends who is handy with computers. Always, always, use these people. Speaking as one of those regularly called on by family and friends, just make sure you buy them a beer or two to say thanks!