A few weeks ago, I was thinking about whether or not to take another break from YouTube, during the summer. (I had already taken a two-week break in April to focus on an employment search.) I was ambivalent at first, but then a couple of unfortunate events occurred that forced my hand and helped me to determine that, yes, I should take another break.
The first event was that our computer was attacked by malware, because I trusted the wrong person. Someone, “J.B.” for short, approached me last month to offer “her” editing services for free. (I assume J.B. is female because her name is feminine. At least I’ve never heard of a male with that particular name. In reality, I have no idea who this person is.) We discussed project details for a few weeks on YouTube Messages. On May 16th, we moved to Google Hangouts so we could I.M. while she edited the video. I created a new Gmail account for this since I didn’t feel it was safe to use my personal one, and I’m glad I did.
J.B. attached malware to the video she edited for me so that when I downloaded it through the link she sent me, it silently affected our computer. Thankfully, Ashton is skeptical of others – trust has to be earned for him, whereas I immediately trust people until they break it – and fairly knowledgeable about computers/malware (he was an IT major in college). I talked to him about the project and showed him our conversation, after I had downloaded the video she edited for me. He became suspicious of her motives after he read our dialogue.
Ashton completely took over the computer at this point. He discovered the file from J.B. was about four times larger than the original, which was unnecessary since she only blurred a few scenes. He ran the anti-virus program and, unfortunately, found malware. He moved the malicious file(s) to quarantine, disconnected our internet and WiFi, and shut down the computer. It remained off for a few weeks until he had time to investigate further.
We have personal information on our computer. As a precautionary measure, I contacted the credit bureaus the next day (May 17th) to place fraud alerts on all five of our reports, just in case that information was compromised. I also purchased ID theft insurance from Zander. Three weeks later, when Ashton turned the computer back on, he ran a multitude of different anti-malware programs (at different times since they can conflict with one another) and was able to destroy additional malicious files … as far as we know.
A couple of good things did come from this unfortunate incident. For one, I’ve been wanting to place fraud alerts on our reports, purchase identity theft insurance, and obtain copies of our credit reports since the Equifax breach occurred last year. The only thing I haven’t done yet is acquire copies of our credit reports, but I intend to do that annually, on our birthdays, from now on. Secondly, I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Don’t, under any circumstance, trust random strangers on the internet! J.B. seemed like a decent person and we had a lot of fun working together. I’m not angry at her, but that trust is irrevocably broken between us now.
Even though there appears to be no trace of malicious files remaining and we have a multitude of protection now, I am still wary about using our computer. I now go through a few extra steps when I’m done using it to ensure that I’m doing everything I can to prevent another malware attack.
The second event that prevented me from communicating my plan to take a break from YouTube on my channel was that I was sick for about two weeks. I think it may have been a severe cold and/or sinusitis. I also got a hideous cold sore in the left corner of my mouth for about a week.
Why Take a Break?
Since our malware issue is now resolved (hopefully) and I am feeling much better, I was able to announce my break on my channel yesterday. Now that all of that’s explained, the main reason why I’ve decided to take such a long break is so that I can focus more on Rev and this blog. We seriously need the extra money that I earn through Rev, and there’s a lot of extra time and effort that goes into a blog when you first get it started.
Plus, instead of only one child home with me full-time, I have all three of them since school is out for summer break. Something had to give. I’m not exactly sure how long my break from YouTube will be, but I plan to report back on my channel in August to let everyone know if I’m ready to return or if I need more time.