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In which I do something stupid...

So, last week I managed to totally frak my work computer. I completely forget that I can not just randomly click on any link I want to when using Windows. As most of you already know, I only have OSX and Linux at home.

I was getting bored at the end of the day on Monday. I only had to work Monday and Thursday last week. So I started looking around for game emulators. I’ve been looking for a good NES or Super Nintendo emulator for a while now. Granted, I need one that works on Mac or Linux but I can look from any OS. I am also well aware that this is the domain of hackers and potentially a dangerous place to be without a heavy duty, magnum-sized computer condom.

I ran across a link, though somewhere far in the recesses of my mind something was telling not to click on it. It was that old saying, “When something looks too good to be true, it probably is,” repeating itself over and over again. I clicked anyway.

My screen blinked off then on again and all of these windows began popping up that were the tell-tale indicators that I had encountered the dreaded Defender Virus. I had just enough presence of mind to immediately pull the power cord and say, “Oh, fuck.”

Since it was the end of the day, I decided to just leave it until Thursday and go home. I was able to totally forget about it until I got in Thursday morning and remembered that I had unplugged my machine.

So, here’s the thing. I have two choices at this point. I can try to clean the computer myself or I can call IT. Calling IT for most people wouldn’t be a big deal. Things like this happen all the time here. We use older Windows systems with Windows servers and a paper thin firewall. They keep Malware on each desktop and laptop that connects to our network just for this reason. But if I call IT for something this stupid, I’m going to get teased and I’ll never hear the end of it.

I’ve been a programmer of one sort or another since I was a freshmen in college in 1983. I cut my programming teeth on a UNIX mainframe. I’ve been doing this, quite literally, longer than almost everyone who currently works for our IT has been alive. A few years back they gave me full administrative rights so I would stop bugging IT every time I needed something installed.

I tried, for over an hour, to fix it myself. In the time I was stubbornly working on it, the virus eroded away at my user profile on the computer until I wasn’t even able to log in properly when I rebooted. I had no choice. My only hope for any sort of face-saving was if one particular IT tech was working. He and I have known each other for 16 years and he is the only one who I know will not rub it in that I did this.

Of course that wasn’t my luck. I get the d-bag I’ve reamed out more than once for wasting my time when I’ve had hardware issues that he had no idea how to fix. I had a hard drive fail on me once about a year ago and I told him exactly what was wrong and what needed to be done to fix it. He decided I didn’t know what I was talking about and try to fix it by running a defrag. IT101 says you run a defrag when you have no idea what to do and you want to keep the client occupied while you figure something out. I was not happy. Of course, once you start a defrag, you can’t stop it until it’s done. I lost two hours that day and it turned out that I was was right in the first place. Apparently the head of IT at the time, someone else I’d know since I started here, lit into him after that for wasting time also. There are still a few of us around here who live by the credo, “If you don’t know the answer to a question just admit it and go look it up.”

Anyway, so d-bag answers the phone and I have to ask him for help. He must have been in a good mood because, while he did make fun of me, he did it while he fixed my computer remotely and rebuilt my user profile.

I’m being obsessively careful now but I have years of experience. I’ve been involved in online activities since ARPANET and dial-up bulletin boards. I can spot a bad link or a questionable site fairly easily and I can usually stop an attack in it’s tracks.

And I still got fooled.




( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
Apr. 25th, 2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
I'm avoiding the common areas of the college for a while.
Apr. 25th, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
Good plan.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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