Why it's important to have protection devices installed on your computer.

Let me start out by saying those drillers who don't use computers (but should) can go on back to work; this story is for the wives of drillers and the secretaries of drillers, the ones who really run the show.

Most people get into trouble while outside the home; the Cutters can stay home and have problems. Our company secretary once said, “I loved working for the Cutters. It's so exciting; something always is happening!”

Don't be alarmed, our vehicle wasn't hijacked, but our computers were! I don't mean stolen; I mean hijacked. Not new, but a different means of stealing information from one's computer.

As I said, don't be alarmed. Just be aware and be protected with the firewalls and anti-virus protection systems such as Spy Sweeper and Norton Anti-Virus.

About a month ago, Bess kept telling me that things were changing or being changed on her computer. Her address book and appointments kept changing or being lost altogether. “Yeah, right,” I told her. “It couldn't happen.” I wouldn't dare tell her that she was just doing something wrong!

Yap, yap, yap. I kept hearing that her computer was messing up and I was reluctant to believe her - until MY computer messed up!

Whoa. Now we have a problem. Porky doesn't mess up, right? Well all at once, one morning, I couldn't get into my Palm notebook where all my contact information and scheduling was. Some 1,500 addresses of suppliers, clients and friends were gone and the Palm desktop program was padlocked.

It's OK if a driller loses his notebook, but for someone to steal it, that's a no-no.

After giving up getting into my addresses and scheduling on my computer, I had to remove the program and re-install it. Not a problem. I had everything backed up on my Palm Pilot (pocket computer). Once I had the program re-installed, I hot-synced my Palm Pilot (with all the information) to the computer and guess what? I lost 1,200 of my 1,500 addresses, but not the scheduling. Not funny! The big no-no - nothing was backed up.

Now I know why drillers hate computers. They don't understand how they work - just like they don't understand their wives. I hate computers, but I love them too, for what they can do for me.

We called the “Geeks on Call” and they weren't much help: “Just clear the computer and re-install everything.” I knew that.

We went to Best Buy and bought Bess a new laptop computer. We brought it home, connected it up to the Internet and immediately the hijacker started to steal everything he could. We immediately shut it down and called the “Geek Squad” at Best Buy.

For an additional $159, Geek Squad double agent Wade came to our home/office and set up all the securities, removed the viruses from both computers, set up the computers and printers to network together inside our home/office by wireless.

Like the double agent Wade said, “You wouldn't buy a new home without proper locks and securities,” you should set up locks and securities on your computers.

In the meantime, the Cox Cable Internet provider advised us to contact the local police and the FBI to report the hijacking, which we did. A police officer came out immediately, wrote up the report and advised us a detective would be in touch.

The detective came out while the double agent Wade was setting up our computers and security. He confirmed that we had been hijacked and showed the detective how it was done. Double agent Wade showed the detective (on her wireless computer) several other (unsecured) wireless people in the vicinity who could be hacked or hijacked.

We re-formatted Bess's old desktop computer, re-installed the software and will continue to use it only for business/private information in the future and keep it backed up.

Don't let the above story make you afraid to use the Internet. Just have your computer system set up to use the available securities and back up your information from time to time. This story is to advise you what can happen if you aren't protected.

For those who use the Internet and want to eliminate the pop-up ads, try using “Mozilla Firefox” instead of “Internet Explorer.” Go to www.mozilla.org and download the program (it's free).