Friday, January 22, 2010

Virus schmirus

The three-day Martin Luther King Day weekend would have been the perfect chance for me to buckle down and work on my book. I'm ready to make the final polish before sending out my query letter to prospective literary agents. Last Saturday, as I sat down at the computer to begin my work, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Turns out, it was an oncoming train.

The "train" in question was a nasty, nasty computer virus called Internet Security 2010. As you may be able to tell from the name, IS2010 looks like your typical anti-virus program, but in fact it is, itself, a virus. And a bad one.

Now I'm not a computer guy, but I've never seen anything like this. By Saturday afternoon, the virus had me on the ropes, dishing out annoying pop-ups and fake "security alert" messages every few seconds. I tried to delete the program via my computer's control panel, but in the list of programs, IS2010 wasn't even there - it was hidden somewhere, buried deep. My Norton antivirus program was defenseless, and in fact Norton couldn't even find anything wrong with my computer.

By Sunday, I was too scared to even turn the damn thing on.

On Monday, a friend of mine who's substantially more computer-savvy came over with his laptop with hopes of uploading a malware program onto a flash drive and downloading it onto my infected desktop. But minutes after he arrived, the virus finally decided to make me its bitch. Pardon my French.

By then, the virus wouldn't even let Windows boot up, not even in Safe Mode.

Here's the good news: the computer was pretty old. And here's the even better news: my book was backed up onto a flash drive.

So instead of spending a few hundred bucks to have the Geek Squad or something similar swoop in to fix my machine, I just spent a few hundred bucks on a new computer.

We also got a cool wireless printer. And a tough antivirus program. And no interest for 20 months.

Beware of Internet Security 2010. And if you think you have it, try to fix it as soon as possible. The little bugger will take over your computer faster than you can imagine.

And if you wait too long, you'll have a thirty-pound paperweight. Just like me.

-- Matt Kelsey

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