I’ m still not sure we have the rights of this. I was in the middle of some not uncomplicated work of my own when I was rung up out of the blue by Microsoft, or ‘Microsoft’, in the person of an Indian guy on an international line. It’s certainly the case that from time to time my adventures on the web have seized up the computer, which has issued an error report. The tale I was spun was that a particular error report was so serious they, Microsoft, had got back to me to look into things. It wasn’t wholly implausible. As the Northern Gentleman, who had been staying, observed, it’s the great goal of all corporations to reduce you to renting something you own, or at least, an aspect of it without which the rest won’t function. Anyway all this procedure of troubleshooting went on and on and, as an interruption to my working day, I was more and more focused on ‘do what you have to do and go away’, and less on the details of what was going forward. However, I did remain somewhat sceptical, and when all this was over, tried it on our local computer consultants. They thought, firstly, that they’d never heard of anyone being targeted that way as a customer. But as a customer for online stuff, I have been used to proactive service — e.g. having bought an airline ticket after not using the credit card for a year, the credit card people have rung up to check it was me, and I have congratulated them on their vigilance. So, that since my computer is registered with my personal details, the initial scenario was by no means impossible. But I was not easy in my mind, and took the computer down to our local specialists. They had never heard of a scam of this kind, but the computer had certainly acquired some nasties. We still don’t know what the point was, but perhaps the key indication that it wasn’t what it purported to be is that the Northern Professor got another Indian phone call today, with the same story. Your system is compromised, etc. etc. To which he replied, truthfully, ‘my system is as we speak, being swept for malware by our local IT consultants’. She put the phone down. So– be careful out there.