I have two computers, both of them antiquated. One is really old — say, an 1893 Duryea — while the other is merely obsolescent, maybe a 1918 Model A.
One of the reasons I’ve been out of action most of the day today is that my newer computer picked up a social disease from the internet last night. The virus — I believe it’s called a “trojan horse” — was first launched on May 13, and is currently listed in Microsoft’s virus library, but the MS security on my machine somehow let one copy of it through, while catching and removing two additional copies.
The demon virus immediately disabled all virus protection on the machine, hijacked XP’s security software, and began masquerading as a virus warning, as if it were the XP anti-virus program. I’ve heard of these evil bugs, so I knew immediately what had happened, but I had no idea how to get rid of it.
Fortunately the future Baron has been through the same ordeal himself, and knew exactly what had to be done. It took about an hour of phone consultation this morning to go through the intitial steps: I had to download a couple of pieces of software using my Duryea, and then reboot the Model A in safe mode to execute them. After that came about seven hours of scanning and cleaning, and now the old girl is cranked up and chugging away just like new.
It wasn’t all that difficult, but it certainly was tedious and time-consuming. Hence my absence from normalcy all day.
As a matter of interest, I’m pretty sure I picked up the bug while I was looking for photos using a Google image search. That can be a risky activity, because if I see the sort of image I want — these days, often a “Camp of the Saints” photo — I have to open a page with the target website in a frame along with the thumbnail. Sometimes these sites are places that I would not normally visit, and act as malware distributors. This can happen even to geezers like me who are looking for relatively innocuous images, and not pr0n or Michael Jackson.
I search for new images several times a day, so all this is just a hazard of the trade. Next time, at least, I’ll know in advance how to correct this type of infection — thanks to the future Baron, whose college education has served him well.