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A week of viruses

October 27, 2010

First cold of the season last week. Somebody installed sandpaper above my palate on Thursday night, and by Saturday the damp had set in.  Of course, it was actually Man Flu. Women don’t get that. Before they get smug, however, a helpful text in Metro Newspaper points out that they get Bird Flu instead.

The net result was that I had to cancel my eagerly anticipated outing to sing with the cast of ‘Wicked’ last Friday night. Come to think of it, though, the cast themselves probably weren’t that bothered. I’m told that they hate it when members of the audience join in the chorus of “Defying Gravity” from the front of the dress circle.

Second virus of that weekend struck the monkey machine when casually surfing at the weekend. Following unfortunate incidents some years ago, I thought I had the beefiest anti-virus system around… I did, until suddenly “Malware Doctor” installed itself on my machine and told me that my machine was ‘badly infected’ with all types of nasty data stealing devices – and would remain that way until I gave the helpful doctor my credit card number.

Having seen fake programs like this before, I instead rang the amazing people at my REAL anti-virus software company. From them, I got the facts. I relate them here in the hope that they help the other person who reads this blog (though Mr P is quite handy with computers himself, come to think of it.)

Apparently a Mafia-funded Russian outfit is placing this virus on badly secured websites. Visitors to those websites find the virus trying to get onto their machines.

The hope is that people will enter their credit card number to buy the fake software the virus promises, a double whammy as not only is rubbish sold, but now they have the card details too.

My mistake was what I did when the virus appeared. I tried to close my browser by clicking on the screen. If you do that – indeed, if you click ANYWHERE on your browser screen – that is the signal for permission for the virus to load itself into your computer. It then sits there issuing warning bubbles and closing down any anti-virus or backing up program it can find.

What I should have done was either clicked my “Start” button and shut the machine down from that, or hit the “Reset” button on my machine’s casing, or just pulled the plug out of the wall then re-booted. So now we all know.

Anyway, my anti-virus company told me I’d done nothing wrong – the infection is rampant and mutating faster than they can proof against it. Luckily, because I had always followed their advice to date, they were able to enter my machine remotely (the virus usually blocks this option – meaning a repair shop job) and clean the mess up in 20 minutes. All free of charge. They also loaded, and trained me to use, some extra ‘pro quality’ shareware anti-malware programs. Again, all free of charge. There is a very good reason why my IT company recommend using this lesser known but industry leading anti-virus outfit… this is it.

One final tip, I found out on two consecutive days from two wonderful professionals that 1) gargling with diluted TCP soothes the ‘Man Flu’ virus a treat but that 2) pouring diluted TCP into a USB port doesn’t treat the ‘Malware Doctor’ virus at all. Who knew?

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