Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

twin reports of my deathMy Google “alert” for “‘Margaret Langstaff’ in the news” sent me a notice today that I died two days ago. Well, I felt like I had died two days ago, but, somehow I didn’t, so I want to hasten to add, to quote Mark Twain, who experienced a similar existential and social disconnect, that “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Some few may be disappointed that I am here to deny and refute Google on this matter, nevertheless . . .

twin note, his death

I must admit Google may have been about half-right and just jumped the gun, had been a little premature in their announcement. My life has had some challenges recently:

All three of my computers crashed
Most of my online accounts were hacked
Quite a bit of personal data, including financial, was stolen.

But, whew, after a few days and hundreds of dollars, I’m back and still have a pulse, I think –as of this writing;)

The internet has become enormously problematic in many ways and security online is a very complex constantly evolving matter. Virus protection and firewalls are not enough, the environment is constantly changing and hackers are relentless, brilliant in some ways. very inventive.

Cell phones are very susceptible to hackers, as well. Never store any passwords or credit info on your cell phone.  Trust me on this!

To finish this weird story, sad to say, but Google was not entirely wrong in its alert. Yes, some poor soul (apparently a wonderful woman, much loved, a wife, mother and grandmother) by the name of Margaret Langstaff did actually die–in Ontario, Canada.

Google is totally bereft of irony, wit, good taste, any human discretion, compassion or discernment. And think about it: in effect, the world is in its “hands.”

Too much information in one place.  Dangerous.

About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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11 Responses to Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

  1. AshiAkira says:

    Very glad to read that the story was a greatly exaggerated one.


    • Yes, inasmuch as I still have vital signs and brain waves, Ashiakira. I have no confidence though in the safety of anything online after the last few days. The old pen and paper, letter writing, “put-a-stamp-on it-and-mail-it” world has immense attraction to me lately. Glad to see you here. Hope you are well!


  2. Roberta Ohlinger-Johnson says:

    I’m glad you’re well!


    • Thank you, Roberta. So am I. I stay up to date, take precautions, yet the way things are today, it’s still going to happen. Prior to this I’d been hacked already twice on Facebook and some years ago I had a truly nightmare experience with a hacking on PayPal. After this last most recent incident, I am not taking anymore chances. Assurances of online security etc. are empty promises because businesses, banks, cell phone companies cannot anticipate what hackers will come up with next or protect their customers against it. Though well meaning, their promises are hot air.


  3. Wow, deadly. Can I ask how you knew you were hacked? I’ve been behind Norton for a generation and it hasn’t happened (as far as I know….)


    • Hi, Brenton. Having been hacked, as you now know, before this last most recent incident, previous events which cost me thousands of dollars, both in repairs and paying off big debts incurred by the hackers to my accounts, and two banks refusing to cover or refund to me anything whatsoever for these fraudulent charges, I pulled out all the stops and spent a bundle of money on a turbo charged version of Vipre Internet Security software and hourly online monitoring. I’d consulted a respected internet security expert and he said this particular Vipre package was the way to go. Moreover, I did manual full system scans every day on my own just to make sure I’d done all I could do. Everything was fine for about 18 months, no problems. Then really weird things started happening in quick succession 1) my computer got really slow, 2) when I tried to visit familiar SITES I USED FREQUENTLY, Internet Explorer just all of a sudden shut down, bounced me offline, then 3) I was locked out of a twitter account, 4) an email account, 5) emails started disappearing from my other email addresses right before my eyes (they just vanished as if they’d been sucked out), 6) my login and passwords didn’t work anymore anywhere and 7) word files and excel files were corrupted.

      All of this happened in just 3-4 days. Finally Internet Explorer would not launch at all. Scared to death my bank accounts were being drained, my reputation possibly ruined etc. I called banks and credit card companies, cancelled all my cards and had them send me new ones.

      Then I raced to my internet security expert and he said, finally, after a lot of work and “scrubbing,” that the way the hackers had cracked my security was by exploiting a Microsoft Update I’d overlooked and failed to install on time. There were hundreds of viruses on all three of my computers, Trojans etc, and hundreds of kinds of malware.

      There’s more, but those are the highlights. Moral of the story: install all updates immediately, pronto, when you get the notices. Don’t open any emails from people you don’t know, don’t install any updates without going to the company’s main site to verify it is authentic, erase your browsing history constantly, change your passwords all the time and use a different password for every online account.


      • This was a very frightening response…. Sorry. I will up my security.


        • You would do well to pay very close attention. These guys try relentlessly to hijack passwords, bank accounts. They come up with something new almost hourly. I AM HAVING SERIOUS RESERVATIONS ABOUT THE SAFTEY OF ONLINE BANKING AND BILL PAY. Having gotten no mercy from banks when my accounts were hacked a few years ago, I wouldn’t put any stock into their promises or assurances of security.


      • The day is coming soon when it will be very risky to pay for anything, whether instore or online with a card
        , asking for trouble. Look at Target, Neiman-Marcus, Goldman Saks. In my own neighborhood, a very nice one, 3 Romanian nationals who could not speak a word of English were caught trying in broad daylight (9 am!) to lift card numbers from the ATM in front of a busy Publix grocery store!


  4. 1WriteWay says:

    Glad to see you are still among the living. I wish, however, that those hackers were not 😉


  5. Thanks! Grrr, they are real low lifes, deserving of a miserable fate!


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