Take care when taking screenshots… or blame it on a virus

“It wasn’t me… it was malware.”

Take care when taking screenshots... or blame it on a virus

Mike Webb is a conservative Christian.

He’s also running in Virginia for a position in the United States congress.

In a (now deleted) Facebook post on his campaign page, Webb yesterday published a screenshot to illustrate a story.

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However, the media was more grabbed by the titles of two of the other tabs in Webb’s browser:


Gawker was helpfully on hand to explain that those two phrases related to a couple of pornographic movie clips.

Not necessarily the kind of thing you would expect a conservative Christian running for US congress to want to make public.

And, as if that wasn’t embarrassing enough… who uses Yahoo as a search engine?

Mike WebbIn a follow-up (also now deleted) Facebook post Webb appeared to be blaming the incident on a computer virus.

I say appeared to blame a computer virus, because quite frankly despite trying on multiple occasions I still can’t quite parse what Webb posted into anything approaching coherent thought:

“Curious by nature, I wanted to test the suggestion that somehow, lurking out in the pornographic world there is some evil operator waiting for the one in a gazillion chance that a candidate for federal office would go to that particular website and thereby be infected with a virus that would cause his or her FEC data file to crash the FECfile application each time that it was loaded on the day of the filing deadline, as well as impact other critical campaign systems. Well, the Geek Squad techs testified to me, after servicing thousands of computers at the Baileys Crossroads location that they had never seen any computer using their signature virus protection for the time period to acquire over 4800 viruses, 300 of which would require re-installation of the operating system.”

if anyone smarter than me can work out what that’s saying, please leave a comment below.

But one thing I do know. Although not impossible, I’m certainly not aware of any malware which would have opened those tabs on Mr Webb’s browser.

Mr Webb meanwhile, in a Facebook post that hasn’t been deleted, claims that – if nothing else – the incident helped to publicise his name and campaign on social media:


“Today’s notorious post reached almost 200,000 people. The succeeding post reached a little more than a tenth of that, and all through the viral infection of social media and word of mouth. And, I certainly received my share of “interesting” comments, but no more out of the ordinary than what I have received since beginning this quest. But, the truly amazing thing about today was that “I saw also the Lord, high and lifted up,” and I was very much moved by the love and support of those who expressed their encouragement and support, even some in the national and local press.”

Always be careful when taking screenshots folks. You could be revealing more than you bargained for.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

18 comments on “Take care when taking screenshots… or blame it on a virus”

  1. guest

    Oh, no it's totally clear. He just wanted to strengthen the Federal Election Commission's security. By testing certain pornographic sites for all sorts of different types of malware. And then, wouldn't you know it, according to the Geek Squad at the Bailys Crossroads Best Buy he had LOTS of very show-stopping malware.

    It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta protect the FEC from vulnerabilities on porn sites. And apparently, his constituents know that because he got lots of warm support. Can I get an Amen?

  2. AME

    4800 viruses? Dude watches tons of porn.

  3. David Killick

    Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best.

  4. Roninkai

    Who care if the guy watches porn? He is a male with male hormones and desires. Being christian has nothing to do with it. He isn't a nun. I'd rather him watch porn than cheat on his wife, if he is married. Other than that… relax, watch some porn, and rub one out. No big deal.

    1. Non-xstian · in reply to Roninkai

      I think the problem is the fact that, as a Xstian, they usually condemn that type of actions [porn browsing] and judge others for whatever they do… so it is kind of ironic… As you said there may not be anything wrong with it as long as you don't judge others and think yourself holier than the pope!

      1. Barb E. Dahl · in reply to Non-xstian

        Yeah, just like a politician who campaigns for women while her husband is a serial sexual predator. Gotta them them self-righteous folk on both sides of the aisle.

  5. Nick Heyward

    I HAVE had unwanted tabs pop up before, (though usually when I'm going somewhere I'm not supposed to!). But I've never had them pop up on the left side of the tabs, where my first-opened tabs usually are. They're always on the far right as new tabs. Isn't that typical?

  6. computertech

    I've seen preachers with FOLDERS to categorize their porn. christians are THE best anti christians. ZERO follow that the bible tells them to. oops.

  7. lying ted

    he has to lie – he is running for congress

    1. Kay · in reply to lying ted
  8. Jason

    "And, as if that wasn't embarrassing enough… who uses Yahoo as a search engine?"

    Or maybe what's more embarrassing is that I got to this article through Yahoo. I guess even they know how bad they are

  9. Concerned_Citizen

    Worth the read:


  10. Activoooo

    okay, soooo he wackshis meat. Who doesn't. move on. no story here.

  11. Mike A.

    What kind of amateur takes and POSTS a screenshot with tabs open like that and doesn't notice it until it's too late….it's almost so stupid and hard to believe anyone would actually do that he would have been much better off going with the "office prank in poor taste" or "accounts were hacked" excuses.

  12. T

    Clients often send me screenshots, earlier this week someone quite senior in a large utility company mailed me a shot of a map they'd got up in their browser, with another tab showing the name of their in-house portal… and minimised in the taskbar was an Excel document titled 'Passwords'. Some folks don't realise all the useful intelligence gathering data they leak.

  13. Abe

    "And, as if that wasn't embarrassing enough… who uses Yahoo as a search engine?"

    People who don't bother to select "Don't change my browser settings" when they update Java.

  14. David L

    Well, I suppose there is an outside chance those tabs could have been from redirects. I read that many church websites are vulnerable to all kinds of malware,adware,& spyware. They are soft targets, and around last Christmas, there was a report about hundreds of Bible apps that were extremely Shady. So, his story is hard to believe, but not without precedent. I know a guy who was being bombarded with all manner of porn every time he tried to open a web page and had to refrain from online communication for a few days until he purged the system. So, judging by his choice of search engine, I'd say he's not very computer savvy, and in that case, his own worst enemy. Remember, people ARE the weakest link.

  15. cf

    >if nothing else – the incident helped to publicise his name and campaign on social media

    I'm sure it will do wonders for Ivone and Layla's careers as well. It's a win all around.

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