It’s annoying when someone breaks into your bank account. When I fell victim to these dumb crooks, I was furious.
It happened once previously, and it was much worse then. I knew nothing about it until I got a phone call from the bank as I sat in a restaurant on Paisley Road West in Glasgow.
“I have some bad news,” said the man from TSB. That is when you begin to think the worst. Did I write a dud cheque? Has the bank collapsed? Whatever has happened, it is probably my fault. Cancel my steak, please.
Hackers got away with a four-figure sum. That made me sweat – even without the mustard I was going to slather on the sirloin. Then the banker said: “Don’t worry. You didn’t do anything wrong. We will sort this out for you.”
The missing moolah appeared back in my account the next day. Phew. Now I am battling for the return of a couple of hundred quid. Bad enough.
Crooks usually want your money, but some are after information. Like the brazen organised hoodlums who set about cracking the passwords at Western Isles Council, sparking a week of chaos.
That appears to have been a data breach, and many systems like emails and telephones were brought down. People getting council assistance may have to wait, although anyone in hardship will be prioritised. The people responsible ought to be dealt with harshly. Is flogging still allowed?
Our authority is keeping its cards close to its chest, but there is speculation that it could be being held to ransom for its passwords. The constabulary has confirmed it is investigating criminality.
The big questions are who, why, when, and how? Was it a spotty teenager in their bedroom somewhere in Russia, or was it local, disenchanted council tax payers? Who knows?
If they were local, how did the computer hackers get away from the scene of the crime? I think they just ransomware. Get it? They just ran some…
Where’s David been?
Also back from somewhere is David Cameron. Now Lord Cameron, he’s been lured back as UK foreign secretary, following vacancies after the cabinet reshuffle caused by the ousting of unpopular home secretary Suella Braverman.
Where’s David been? On Tiree, maybe, for a time, which his in-laws own a chunk of. The noble lord claims his experience will help Rishi Sunak, whom he has regularly roundly criticised. They are all pals now and everything is going to be hunky-dory.
A former neighbour of ours had a wee boat called a dory. It was too small for anything except fishing off the beach. It sank without trace. It was so lightweight, there was nothing hunky about it.
Not lightweight was Maryanne Trump Barry, sister of the former US president, who died this week. We met in 2008, when she came over with her wee brother to Lewis and visited their mother’s former home in Tong, near Stornoway.
While Donald was loudly pontificating in Lews Castle, she ordered coffee and cake outside to chat with some unwashed reporters. I’ll always remember when one of us asked about whether she thought her brother would run for president. Maryanne, who was a court judge, sighed: “Probably.”
She added that he was becoming a sort of politician now. Politicians would say and do whatever it took to advance themselves.
Let’s all say goodbye to bagging area droids
Not all politicians advanced themselves this last week – because of computers, again. Scottish Health Secretary Michael Matheson apparently ignored the Scottish Government geeks’ advice to change the SIM card in his iPad before he went for a Christmas break to Morocco. It cost him a packet in roaming charges, nearly £11,000 we believe. How?
Some politicians are known to watch videos of tractors in their spare time. Still, Mr Matheson said it was for constituency business, before he decided to pay the money back. I don’t understand that. If he was using it for constituency work, as he said, why does he need to pay back a penny? Maybe I shouldn’t go there.
Like many of us who don’t go to self-service checkouts. One Lancashire supermarket chain is getting rid of them because, it says, most customers prefer to be served by humans.
Good news. I hate the bleeping bagging area droids. Only if I am in a desperate hurry, or buying cream for my piles, do I use them. Too embarrassing, otherwise.
The islands’ council has been embarrassingly hacked, and even my bank account has been diddled. Where’s it all going to end?
I am told that once a shadowy hacker breaks into a supposedly secure system, they will always want to do it again… and again. It’s addictive. Now there’s even a support group for burned-out hackers who want to give up the habit.
What do they call it? Probably Anonymous Anonymous.
Iain Maciver is a former broadcaster and news reporter from the Outer Hebrides