This is a 2 parter, and the second part has tons of details . Now you guys know I go out of my way to write a full blown, researched, image included piece for this blog every day. Every single day. But you might have noticed things were a little dicey this past week. And also about 3 weeks. Well the reason was actually NOT my chronic laziness, but an outbreak of computer viruses. Yes it happened to me. And I’m what you might call an “arrogant” computer user. That is to say, I’ve been using them so long in one way or another that I don’t think anything bad is ever going to happen to me. Sort of like an alcoholic convinced they can make it home because they’re only a little tipsy.
Waaaay back in the old days when I actually took my one and only “internet class” we were taught web design. Part of that process was learning to test a website on multiple platforms and with multiple browsers. So I’m a diehard Firefox browser user. In fact whenever I set somebody with a new computer that I’ve built or bought for them I have this whole little talk about it. I say, “Internet Explorer comes with the computer but don’t use it if you can avoid it. The internet is like a muddy field and you’re gonna track that crap back in the house if you use IE. Firefox is like some sort of Teflon coated footgear and you’ll come back home relatively clean. If you DO use IE try to limit to well known sites like Ebay, Amazon, Yahoo. But those sites should be your destination, don’t follow any links away.”
So I don’t use IE myself; UNLESS I’m testing a website. And this blog, despite my putting in work for 6 months now, is still newish in the sense that I’ve only recently started to go beyond just writing content for it. So I’m messing around with the code a lot. And since I’m messing around with the code I need to test it on Internet Explorer to see how it looks and behaves since, about 70 percent of my visitors use that browser. Despite the fact that the thing is susceptible to attacks from spyware, malware, adware, and viruses. Having said that, most people pick up spyware, and adware and don’t really know it. The computer acts funny, or slow and they just think that’s the way it is. They might even have antivirus software running, but those software packages don’t pick up every malicious virus or adware out there, and they’re usually not even the free versions!
So, like I said, I’m a little too cocky about the whole then and normally my internet security protocol goes like this. Zone Alarm and Firefox running full time. Weekly use of Window Washer to clear out the system and maybe a monthly use of Ad Aware by Lavasoft. All that stuff is free. Well I’m not sure about Window Washer, but there are other internet cache and temporary file cleaning programs out there. And with this setup I can go for MONTHS without any trouble. Cut to: present day, the computer is several has got multiple viruses, from me testing the website AND experimenting with shady software (and going to shady websites to get it). So instead of just going into DOS to delete the stuff I decided to try to fix it like a normal person; go on the web as best I could with a virus infected computer, Google some results, download the spyware removal, virus protection, virus scan software was recommended and see which one would get my machine clean again. Click the link for part 2 of this miniseries to see the results. (available in about 2 days if you’re visiting on the 19th)