10 tech terrors that will haunt your dreams

Step into our house of techno-horrors where there is no Esc key

10 tech terrors that will haunt your dreams
Credit: iStockphoto
10 tech terrors that will haunt your dreams

Sure, hackers, cyber criminals, malware infestations, massive data spills, obnoxious marketing weasels -- these horrors frighten most tech pros on a daily basis. But you want to talk real terror? Check out the following 10 frights. They're scarier than waking up to discover your daughter has turned into a Kardashian.

1. HealthCare.gov's Frankensite
Credit: Frankenstein: Wikipedia
1. HealthCare.gov's Frankensite

It's only the well-being of you and your loved ones in the hands of a website cobbled together by 47 different federal contractors. What could possibly go wrong? Even people who aren't scared senseless by Obamacare are recoiling at the horror show HealthCare.gov has become. While the White House has vowed to bring in a team of geeks to restrain the beast, we fear that bolting new technology onto its neck will only make it angry. Keep those pitchforks and torches handy.

2. The healthcare marketplace of Dr. McAfee
Credit: YouTube
2. The healthcare marketplace of Dr. McAfee

You know what's scarier than entrusting your health to a federal Frankensite? Asking John McAfee to fix it. But that's apparently what House Republicans did, begging the former software entrepreneur/amateur pharmacologist/person of interest to lend his expertise to the troubled healthcare marketplace. (Big Mac's advice: Throw it out and start over.) Apparently the GOP hasn't seen this NSFW video. Or maybe it has. Compared to everyone else inside the Beltway, McAfee seems relatively sane.

3. iZombies
Credit: Lindsey Turner via Flickr
3. iZombies

Has the zombie apocalypse finally arrived? No, it's just hordes of mindless fanboys staggering toward another Apple special event. (That groaning noise coming from their blood-encrusted mouths: "onnnne.... morrrrre.... thinnnnnngggg....") Don't stand between them and their new iPads, or you might lose an organ. Your best defense: Lob an Android handset at them and watch them flee in horror.

4. The crib creeper: Mark Zuckerberg
Credit: Zuckerberg: Andrew Feinberg; Window: Wikipedia
4. The crib creeper: Mark Zuckerberg

If Mark Zuckerberg's insistence on ignoring personal boundaries creeps you out, imagine him as your landlord. Earlier this year the Facebook founder forked over $30 million to buy all four properties surrounding his Palo Alto manse, then rented them back to their current residents. You know he'll be peering in their windows, riffling their mail, rummaging through their underwear drawers, and sharing their secrets with 1 billion of his closest friends.

5. Windows 8.1 vampires
Credit: Vampire: Wikipedia
5. Windows 8.1 vampires

Like the undead denizens of the night, the dreaded Blue Screen of Death has risen from the grave to suck the blood from hapless Windows 8 upgraders. For some unlucky users, moving to Windows 8.1 caused not one but two blue screens to take a bite out of their computers. The only hope: Drive a wooden stake through the heart of every Win8 machine, or wait for Version 8.2 -- we're sure that will fix everything.

6.  Paranormal stock activity
Credit: Paranomal: Wikipedia
6. Paranormal stock activity

Like an ax murderer teetering on the edge of sanity, there's something about a tech company's share price hitting the magic four-figure mark that screams "run for your lives." Priceline did it first in September; earlier this month it was Google's turn to crest $1,000 per share. Combine that with all the other signs that a new tech bubble has been spawned and the words "irrational exuberance" will haunt your dreams. It's time to take whatever disposable income you have left and bury it in the backyard, alongside the bodies.

7. Hannibal Ballmer unleashed
Credit: Wikipedia
7. Hannibal Ballmer unleashed

Those celebrating the imminent release of Steve Ballmer from his lair high atop the towers of Redmond have forgotten one truly terrifying detail: He's now free to roam the earth, with no board of directors or pesky stockholders to restrain him. If you see a sweaty shape-shifting maniac running down the streets at midnight bellowing "Developers! Developer! Developers!" don't say we didn't warn you.

8. Asteroids
Credit: Wikipedia
8. Asteroids

An asteroid the size of four football fields just swooshed by the Earth. According to Ukrainian astronomers, when Asteroid TV135 makes its return trip in August 2032 it might be dropping in for dinner, causing an explosion 50 times more powerful than our biggest nukes. NASA says the odds of this happening are less than 1 in 63,000, but of course it would say that. Those guys have spaceships -- what do they have to worry about?

9. The spooks have eyes
Credit: iStockphoto
9. The spooks have eyes

The good news is you're not paranoid. The bad news is you really are being followed. Thanks to Ed Snowden, we now all know that the ghosts in the machine are real and haunting our Internet connections -- watching who you call, what you say, and where you go. You say you encrypt all your email and use Tor to surf the Web? Mwahahaha. You can never escape. Good thing you have nothing to hide. Right?

10. Senior selfies
Credit: Wikipedia
10. Senior selfies

What's scarier than revenge porn? Granny revenge porn. A recent McAfee study of baby boomers and social media found that Netizens age 50 to 75 overshare nearly as much as their younger, less saggy counterparts. More than half share personal information with total strangers. The survey did not not ask if they post nude selfies, but you gotta figure it's inevitable. Talk about 50 shades of gray.