Saturday, April 9, 2011

Arrgh! A virus!

After finally getting my mom's house fixed up and rented and being mostly done with her finances, I thought I would have a great time writing this week.  No worries, just my desktop and me and an open Tuesday.  Alas! My desktop fell victim to a drive-by virus!

I can't even be sure how it entered--at the time, I was opening five jobsites that I have checked hundreds of times in the past--but evidently this particular virus does not need one to click on anything (hence "drive-by").  So my desktop computer is now infested with this monster and right now, my son is working to uninfest it. With his work schedule, he couldn't get to it until today.

Most of my week has been spent getting files transferred from my backup hard drive to my laptop and updating them.  Thank goodness I had backed up a week earlier.

So here are three recommendations for my readers:

1. The virus masquerades as a Windows virus alert.  It loads a list of viruses that are supposedly on your computer and says you have to pay for an updated virus program.  Do not believe it!  If you load the program, it will open a highway for spyware to enter your computer.
   Since the first thing it does is to disable your anti-virus software, you can't get rid of it that way.  So here is what to do: immediately disconnect from the internet.  Unplug your computer's internet connection. Print out any files you may need for the next week or so and shut off the computer. Call a professional or semi-pro to clean up the computer, but be aware that the hard drive may need to be wiped.

2. Purchase a backup hard drive.  I use HP SimpleSave, which is available at Amazon. It's about $100 and works very well once you get used to a couple quirks.  It saved all my files through the last backup on March 29.

3. Read my latest stories by clicking on the links to the right or some of the best by clicking on the links below.

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