Sep 30 2015

The Town Hall In Your Home And Why You Shouldn’t Answer The Door

By Bob Hooper for Island Eye News


We have a two-fer for this column, two for the price of one… . First let’s start with the door and as with both it’s a metaphor for something, in this case it’s those dang people/robot calls trying to steal your money! There are several ways this scam starts off and all seem either authentic or at least not harmful.

Nowadays it seems to be you get a big notice on your screen stating that Microsoft has detected a “virus” or that you need to call right away for help. You might get a call from “Microsoft Tech” or “Windows Tech”, even an email directing you to call immediately as the infection is growing right now.

Any and all forms are fake. No one from Microsoft or Windows is going to start a call to you, send a pop-up to your computer or email you. No Canon or HP printer help desk person is suddenly going to become a Windows or Malware (virus) expert and help you. Anyone you have not met or is not a local business is not out to help you. Do not let them in your computer.

Just because “John” with a very strange Texas accent says he wants to fix your laptop does not mean “John” is the person actually entering your laptop via the web. It could be another computer driven script that is infecting your laptop so it can work as a “Bot” to infect other computers in the future.

Please don’t do it…. About once or twice a week I get a call that starts out, “Hey Bob, I think I screwed up,” and I usually end up saying “uh oh, don’t tell me you let them on your laptop.”

So again, they are not your friend, don’t believe them… Don’t answer the door! As a comic said “We are all full of crazy in here, don’t need anymore.”

So let’s look at that “Town Hall” in your home… We all have a street address that is issued by Town Hall. So for example Charleston would issue street addresses to homes on Broad St. and someone wanting to visit there would know how to get to the house using that address. The metaphor here is that your “wireless router” in your home is Town Hall for your house.

Yep, it sits right in that corner looking like a little piece of nothing but in reality there is a big old town hall in there that is issuing street addresses to every wireless device in your home. They are called “IP addresses,” you might have heard that term and it stands for Internet Protocol. It’s the way all your wireless devices know how to “speak” to each other and where they “live,” sort of like how to get to the house on Broad St. The house on Broad does not move (much) but the devices in your home can so the IP address is attached to them, not the place.

Now you know how that printer can figure out how to print from the phone and the laptop… because it knows the address of the phone and the address of the laptop. The laptop/phone/printer all know where each other are because of the wireless router and the IP address. If the wireless router is down or not working right then no device has an IP address and no device knows where anything else is (or where it is). That is why you might get an IT person who asks if you have reset the wireless router when the printer won’t print.

An IP Address allows your laptop to send an email through the wireless router, to the modem, to the Internet, to another modem, router and back to another laptop so you can order that thingy for Christmas.

As always if you have questions or need help you can call or email me, Rent A Bob at 843.822.7794 or email at

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