I sent the below to various people I work with yesterday, all Goodreads members should all be aware of it and take it seriously. If you’re a Goodreads member, please run a full security scan on your computer, so this doesn’t happen to you, and please pass this along. My computer is clean now. This is safe.
Something happened that I think I should relate to all of you, in case you want to share it with your clients. About a week ago, my computer stopped working well. I was in Florida, and computers don’t like to travel. Every social network wants proof of identity. The router wasn’t very good, and I pipe my email through gmail into Outlook. Google—and just about every service—gives you a hard time when you change geographic locations, and this came on slowly, so I didn’t make too much of it.
When I returned to Helsinki about a week ago, Microsoft Office hit Defcon 5, total meltdown. I found a very powerful virus well hidden in Java. It apparently was delivered through Goodreads, which is why I’m sharing this, because all of us and everyone we work with uses it, often daily. Even after I cleaned out the virus, cleaned the registry and reinstalled Office, every time a Goodreads message came through, Office shut down (NEVER try Office 365 if you have a 64-byt system).
My final solution was to remove every Goodreads message—actually every message with the name Goodreads in it—as there were thousands and looking at each one would have taken eons. Old messages also shut me down. And they were difficult to delete because any interaction with an individual message set it off. So I had to clean out Outlook messages in use, archived messages, and the gmail server going back for years. Thousands of mails. Gmail has to be done in batches of 20. Outlook messages can’t be done individually. Touching a message activates the shutdown. Instead, choose ‘from’ and group them, then delete the group, folder by folder. It’s set so that large batches won’t delete. Arduous. I filtered and blocked Goodreads at the gmail level for the time being, until I rescan for viruses and search for a permanent solution.
It may have been solely for my benefit. A couple weeks ago, I received and ugly Facebook message on my author page. You can see it if you like. It’s decorated with super-patriotic photos like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a lot of pretty flowers. The sender had three ‘friends.’ Mike Tyson, and so an automatic accept, a Finnish guy who runs a ‘dating service,’ and me. No other activity except for slagging me. It came from Finland. It was definitely a sock puppet created to attack me. I’m not politically popular in some circles. I don’t know if the events are related. Either way, I’m very active on Goodreads and might have spread it myself. I thought I should warn you. Penn, would you please inform Goodreads? I now have no way to contact ‘help’ myself.