The fact that I’m writing this and that you’re reading it means that things are (fingers crossed) on the mend. Technologically, at least.
Recently, while working on a (clearing throat in conspiratorial tone) project, I was annoyed by Adobe Flashplayer’s insistence that I update my software. It wouldn’t go away when I said ‘no, thanks.’ Then it wouldn’t even take no for an answer. So . . . yes, just as stupid as it sounds, I said ok, and that was the beginning of the nightmare.
Cutting to the chase, that wasn’t Adobe Flashplayer any more than some creepy guy at a bar is a knight in shining armor. Nope. It was a virus.
But, joy of joy, it took me a while to figure that out.
In fact, I didn’t figure it out until after I’d paid my bills online, checked my bank accounts and retirement accounts, and uploaded a job application with my complete career history, references’ contact information, and my SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER!
Then things started acting up and eventually I checked on my Windows firewall to find that it couldn’t be enabled. The virus had installed its own firewall to fend off any attempts to get rid of it. The good news is that despite some lame advice from a techno-geek and some useless malware software, along with better malware software (I won’t say it here because I don’t want to help the slimy worm-people out by pointing them toward their next target), I think I fixed this without one of those frustrating calls to someone overseas who, if they’re a real person, will stick to the script no matter what I say on this end . . .
Overseas call center rep: Good afternoon, how may I assist you today?
Me: Hello! Well, it’s midnight here, but good afternoon to you, too! Unfortunately, a virus has taken over my computer and is posing as Windows and not letting me add a malware remover. Is there anything I can do?
Overseas call center rep: Thank you for your question, Hippie. I am sorry you are having trouble. I think we can fix this pretty easily. First, we’ll need to add a malware remover.
I’m still wary of Gmail and of whether I’ve truly removed the worm and restored my system cleanly. My priority concern is the potential hacking of my financial accounts, etc., but the (clearing throat in conspiratorial tone) project is still in the works. All the materials were on my desktop. I retrieved them and moved to backup. And then there’s this thing I call a day job.
Moral of the story: Whoever first thought up the idea of a computer virus is a miscreant who deserves to have his/her shins kicked.
Epilogue: I found the image for this post at a place called “Ethical Ocean.” It felt a little uncomfortable borrowing an image from a site based on ethical premises, so I checked it out and it looks like a worthwhile place to explore. I can’t entirely endorse them, seeing as I’m still smarting from being burned by faux Adobe and I haven’t been through an entire purchase with them, but I think it’s worth a leap of faith to give them a shout-out. The image links to their website.
They’re based in Toronto, so it’s also a public service to my Canadian friends who are also smarting from recent events that have catapulted that nice city into the negative spotlight. I actually think it speaks well of you that you’re taking it so personally.
I heart you, Canadians. We all get burned sometimes. Just don’t download the Adobe update without checking it carefully.