I called a local ISP, Insight Communications (recently taken over by Time Warner) to refresh the password on a friend's router. The friend did not remember the password, and although wifi thieves had managed to get in, neither he nor I could figure it out.
The cable company switched me to a tech, who switched me to "a Netgear tech."
I had been rerouted to iYogi, but the person who answered did not identify himself as such--nor did he ever. He just gave his first name (?) and asked for the problem. I told him that I needed the router reset. He told me that was a simple problem, and he could do it for free. He mentioned that if it was anything further, I would have to pay, since the router was out of warranty (?). At this point, the alleged warranty on the router was given as one year. Unfortunately, the router was only 6 months old. But since it was a "simple problem" that was not a problem, there would be no fee.
He told me to log into (?) Internet Explorer. My friend has a Mac, and I had a Linux laptop. Neither have IE. The tech told me he could only reset the router through a Windows computer (???). I had a Windows partition on the laptop that came with it I'd never bothered to delete--or really use.
The tech instructed me to log in as Administrator (?!?). From this point forward, I did not trust the man, since there was no need to have root access to a computer to reset a router. I use a user account to change my own. I did mention that it was a random computer, and he did not acknowledge this, but instead guided me to a iYogi website--the first I heard of it. Google search taught me more, much later. Unfortunately for this report, I had disabled browser memory, so I am not sure about the .com or .net, or even if they're different entities.
I was guided to start a SSH process (where he would take over control of the computer--this is somewhat normal in tech support, I believe, although it can be extremely dangerous with an untrusted server, it can make fixing the problem faster and less frustrating for tech and user). I watched in amusement as, instead of doing anything remotely connected to the router, he instead installed a "Smart PC" program and started scanning my computer (?!?). I pointed out that this computer had nothing to do with the problem, and was only brought in to service for its Windows partition. He answered by telling me that my computer had errors. 1200+ to be precise (??). Shame on Microsoft, I suppose. All I did to a "stock" system was install Chrome and change some of Chrome's settings. Which apparently caused 1200+ registry errors. (Not likely, btw.)
He wanted to talk about those errors and how I should be worried. I told him that I had no real use for the sandboxed system, and my Linux partitions work just fine, and please reset my friend's router. This seemed to anger him, and he was telling me my system was horrible. I should have "fallen" for this, just to see where it would take me, but his change in tone distracted me.
Finally, (keyboard shortcut?) a typical Windows pop-up box appeared, giving no information in the title--and did *not* look anything like the router password box I had been trying to guess earlier. It contained a space for username and for password. He entered "Administrator" in the username and typed a 8-character password in ("password," maybe? haha). When that didn't work, he tried another 8-character password ("12345678?" gee, I never thought of those). He told me over the phone that "nothing works" and he'd have to talk to his boss, because my problem was suddenly "hard." My lack of concern for my "unstable" Vista seemed to trigger this.
When he returned, the price was $39.95 to reset the router, since it was out of warranty (?). Now the warranty was only 90 days. He told me he couldn't fix my friend's router because my own laptop was so riddled with problems it would not work (??). I pointed out that one didn't have a thing to do with the other. He told me $39.95 or else. I was rapidly becoming angry with my ISP for putting me through to this mess.
The fact that he was getting upset at me for not answering "properly" to his scare tactics lead me to believe many people fall for this. I am not user-end tech support, although I do work with computers. Half of the reason I'm leaving this here is to help out anybody who might have this same problem: none of the arguments he gave make sense--those are marked with (?)'s. It's like tuning up a 2008 Impala, not a real thing (oil change, yes, but tuneup, no--nothing to tune up unless you mess with the computer chips), but something some people will gladly take your money for doing.
Also, I am extremely disappointed in Insight--which I use myself, and has been exemplary otherwise--for patching me through to this tech service.
The router has been reset, a return call to Insight took care of this within five minutes. I expressed my displeasure at the "trickery" I had to go through. The guy simply reset it on his end and all is well now at my friend's house.
A few days later, I logged back into my Windows partition with no internet access for something unrelated, and found a nice surprise. Some strange software with iYogi written on it was demanding my internet and holding the system "hostage" until I delivered (according to what was written on the pop up box).
I edited a few lines in a few files to disable a bunch of this, but I doubt I have found them all yet. There were 6 separate programs starting up on boot now, most with "innocent" names that did not exist previously. I will uncomment these at some point, I'm sure, just to see what *would* happen, but for now I've left it alone in it's little techno-jail cell. iYogi told me we had no further business since I wouldn't give a credit card number, but that proved wrong when I find this on my computer, software that *requires* (why?) internet access in order to "let" me have my computer back. Why is this even still here?
tl;dr- Insight sent me to a 3rd party tech support company that wanted to charge me for free stuff, iYogi needs Windows computers so they can scare the owners and charge them money for stuff not related to original call, one bored sysadmin had some fun and now has some free malignant software to play with, router is fixed easily by Insight on return call complaining about Insight's choice in business partner. And Windows partition has got lots of iYogi software all over it trying to keep a secure tunnel alive.
Also, decency suggests this information should be available to the public, who does not all happen to be in the industry and can not be expected to know what is and is not technically accurate.