Friday, August 31, 2007

Biohazard: The Trojan Horse rides again

This is what I dreamt of doing to my computer for the past two days. After a viscious battle with a computer virus determined to drive me out of my freakin' mind with constant popups and directions to a bogus site to "clear my computer from danger," along with the red background and biohazard graphic which dominated my desktop wallpaper, I have emerged victorious with help from the ever-faithful Symantec...and for the low, low price of $99 (and three hours of my life I'll never get back dealing with a man whose accent I could barely understand.)

My frustration level soared to an all-new high as, after finally fixing my computer and sitting down yesterday to catch up on writing and the loops, I realized I couldn't log in to blogger and my keyboard buttons (which I use to navigate to Yahoo mail and the Internet) no longer function. Who cares, you might think. At least your computer is working. True. But I LOVED those buttons. And I used to use the new tab function through I.E. 7.0 to view several websites at once through one window of the Internet Explorer. Now, however, I have to open several windows and worry about closing the wrong one when I'm done.

Technology makes it possible to do wondrous things. Cut and paste, copy and move, enlarge, insert, edit edit edit. And all without using one piece of paper or killing one precious tree. And yet, when that technology goes haywire, it's enough to affect your whole life--at least, if you're as anal and agenda-obsessed as I am.

I had a schedule, granted, my own, to write and promote. And now I'm off it, and I'm still torqued about it. Stupid and petty, but I became driven to fix everything that now doesn't work on the computer, and that, TOO, has taken me away from writing. (As if I need another excuse...)

All I can say is that after we'd finally gotten my computer to function "normally" again, I pressed my Symantec "buddy" for answers as to how to avoid this in the future. (Prior to this debacle, my virus definitions were up-to-date and ran scans regularly. I have a firewall in place as well as Internet security.) Don't download free stuff, he said. And put your security settings very high. HUH? Half the sites I regularly visit demand you accept cookies, and in order to use other software I occasionally had to use Active X controls. But my buddy told me if I need to download anything, to run a separate scan on that as well.

In my continued fear of having to go through the whole "misleader dot download dot app" virus fiasco again, I'm through downloading anything I'm not familiar with, my pop-up blocker is my new best friend, and I'm scanning like there's no tomorrow. I pray none of you have to go through this, though my buddy did tell me that they had a really high volume of calls because of this very virus. May karma smack that schmuck who disbursed that virus right in the ass, and the same goes to spammers. >:)

Dare I say, Happy Friday?



Michelle M Pillow said...

That sucks, Marie. Glad you got it fixed!

Amanda Young said...

I went through something similar to this awhile back, Marie. I had my computer fixed, luckily, but it's never been the same since. Hang in there and try not to let it get you down.

Cara Carnes said...

I'm so sorry you had to deal with all of that. I'm sending massive amounts of chocolate (and drinks if you want them).

I'm glad you were able to get it resolved though. I hope your weekend goes wonderfully:)

Marie Harte said...

Thanks for the sympathy. I've had some chocolate, and am feeling much better now. :)


Lisa Andel said...

Hey Marie, I was running down Rhian's list and saw your name there!

I so hate trojans, and have been lucky to avoid the worst of them lately. I know there's something on my hard drive right now eating up memory, but it's more of an inconvienence than anything else.

Grammar Geek said...

Have you tried switching to Firefox as your browser? It has a much more powerful pop-up blocker and isn't as much at risk as IE is. It also has tabbed browsing and doesn't suck. ;)

It's open source, so it's free, you can get it off their site, and you can add all sorts of plugins and tools that are really really helpful.

Go here: for more info.