Sunday, September 26, 2010

There is a virus going around

I had a computer before viruses became a problem. I also didn’t have an internet connection, so my contact with outside sources was extremely limited. It’s sort of like having to worry about a sexual transmitted disease when you’re trapped on a desert island in the middle of the Pacific with a crate of condoms and three blow- up dolls. I mean, you know there is a threat out there somewhere, but it isn’t something you ever really worry about.
Incredibly, the first computer virus I caught was given to me by someone who suspected the 5.25 disk they owned was infected, yet she wanted to test it out on my machine first. It only cost twenty-five bucks for me to get the virus removed, but there I was, on that desert island, surrounded by coconuts, condoms, and testing positive for a sexually transmitted disease and all three blow- up dolls just sitting with their mouths hanging open, acting surprised.
This was, by the way, the same woman who gave me a stack of 5.25 disks, and that was during a time people were switching over to 3.5’s. One day I was truly bored, and wondering what I could do with a computer and a floppy disk, so I typed out the command “undelete” in DOS and undeleted all the files on the floppy disk.  She had written some very sexually charged love letters to someone, and as a former boyfriend, I was curious as to what guy she had set her sights on this time. She had just ended a relationship with a mutual friend of ours and I told them both when it began, that just because they both met through me, I was not to blame for anything that happened, no, I did not want to hear it. They stayed together for a long time, but it ended, and ended poorly, and neither was on speaking terms with me for a while after. After about the second paragraph of the steamy letter, however, I realized she was writing the letter to another woman. They would go on to get together, and live together, for years.
Generally speaking, like a guy who spends most of his free time writing rather than socializing, you’d think I was fairly low risk for getting a virus. Of course, if you socialize at all you’re at least at risk of getting the common cold, and so eventually, this sort of thing had to happen, sooner or later. What pisses me off is I’ve got expensive paid for by the year virus protection with McAfee, and they now tell me to remove the virus their program didn’t catch with cost me nearly ninety bucks. I’ll be bailing out on them as soon as this subscription runs out, and I’ll get someone I know to take out the virus.

The virus was an odd creature, this one was. I had just posted my latest writing and suddenly my computer decided that my old anti-virus program, “Microsoft Security Essentials” was still in charge even though I had removed the program some time ago. “Action halted! Microsoft Security Essentials has detected a potential threat! Press clear to remove” Okay, so I unplugged the line to the internet, pressed clear, and it told me it couldn’t remove the threat, I would have to press a button that led me to an online site that would remove it for free. I pressed the button, and because I wasn’t connected I wasn’t concerned, and a screen popped up telling me the threat had been removed. Meanwhile, I still couldn’t open Chrome, Firefox, Word, or any email program because of the return of the original message. My McAfee scan started out slow, and then slowed down. My Mal-Ware scan ebbed to a near halt. At two- something I cashed it in and I didn’t sleep well for a few hours.

At seven-something I got up and texted my sister who told me she had just gotten rid of the ninety dollar McAfee virus, but I should try a system restore, and that allowed me at least to get online and download some more antivirus stuff, all of which doesn’t seem to be working. The computer is slow and clunky, and freezes at times during scans. I have an Ubergeek who sold me this computer, but alas! The man also has a wife and three kids and I suspect the weekends belong to them, and rightfully so.
Update: I’ve ran the same scan three times, and downloaded two variations of anti-virus “Stingers” and I’m not getting any more error messages. It’s not acting as clunky, but it still isn’t quite right. I was having a problem getting McAfee’s scan in the background feature to stay in the on position, but it seems to be okay now as well. My sister believes this to be some sort of Trojan Horse email virus, but I have no idea if she is right or not.

And one more time, with feeling, now it appears all is well. The computer is running slower but I can limp into the computer shop Monday and let my Uber Geek look at it. I’ve got Word back, my email is running okay, McAfee, the alleged anti-virus program is running normally again, and I can write. I have no idea where and how I got this thin, but I’m going to stay off the radar until I can get someone to look at this thing and tell me if I’m sending out emails to everyone I know without me knowing it.

The idea of someone out there screwing around with people’s lives just because they can, or worse, the people supposedly protecting is unleashing these things to they can make a profit off it, is enough to make me go back to writing with a quill, and using an inkpot. If anyone has any suggestions I am certainly open to them, other than taking this damn thing and launching it out the window.

Take Care,
Mike

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