This crazy little painting came to mind because I felt like someone was sneaking in and looking over my shoulder in a creepy, weird kind of way. I felt a bit invaded.
Therefore, creepy, weird eyeball painting.
Last week, to my bewilderment, my computer started freaking out. Here's what happened.
I sometimes go to Goodreads to check out authors I like and follow. I just finished reading Stephen King's novel, 11-22-63. If I ever had trouble remembering the Kennedy assassination date, I probably won't have any problem anymore.
I love reading Stephen King because he sucks me right into the story.
Now, I was looking for the next decent book to read.
We have tons of books in the house, but I do like looking around for something to read almost as much as I like settling on something I'd like.
This time I clicked on a link to the website of an author I follow. I thought I Goodreads is a reputable website, and I trust the author; there should be no problem whatsoever. It surprised me when the author's website said I needed to update my Flash Player. It was such an innocuous thing. I did it without thinking at all - all it took was a click. I could update my laptop, and I would be on my way.
The internet is so easy to use. Sometimes it's just too easy. I was like Nike - I just did it.
When it comes to downloading software from the internet - that IS NOT the best advice. I should have been skeptical. Instead, I was gullible. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was happening, and I immediately a hollow, "Oh my God, what's happening?" in the pit of my stomach. I think I was experiencing a little bit of shock.
What happens if somebody gets control of my computer?
What happens if they get a hold of my passwords?
What the hell is happening anyway?
The next thing that crossed my mind was - my security software license had lapsed.
I had no idea what to do. I disconnected my computer from the internet by turning off wifi access. I shut down my computer and rebooted it.
When my computer came back to life, it had pop-ups telling me that my computer was infected. My laptop got hijacked by software that took control of my browser. The first evidence was my browser went to a search engine called Searchmine.
Had somebody had just violated my privacy? I was angry.
"They've" invaded my space. I wanted to lash out and felt like screaming. That would have done no good whatsoever. Why should I upset the rest of the world for something that was undoubtedly my mistake?
The fault may have been the bastards that planted that little nugget out there for me to download, but it was my fault. I didn't heed that voice in the back of my head. I'm usually pretty good about that.
Luckily, I had another computer.
I went to my other computer and looked up how to rid myself of this pesky malware.
Hopefully, that will keep the jackals at bay.
Andrea, she's often the calm in my very stormy brain, left me to my devices as I tried to figure out how to fix my problem.
There are plenty of sites that talk about how to remove this bug. All of them promote downloading their "clean up" software to take care of the problem. I tried downloading one of them, which did nothing, or did it? Did I inject ebola into my computer? Were the various viruses swimming around in my laptop duking it out for world domination?
My panic ratcheted up to DEFCON 1.
What do you do at DEFCON 1?
That brought to mind the drills we did at Selby Lane Elementary School in the late 1960s.
So I crawled under my desk, laced my hands behind my head, put my head between my legs, and kissed my @$$ goodbye.
Quick, "Andrea! Where's the scotch! Not that one, the good stuff! We're going under here!"
I was scared. Had I just destroyed all of the work that ever contained on my computer? I could see pictures of paintings melting, my blogs disintegrating before my eyes. I sat paralyzed by the biological warfare taking place in the bowels of my solid-state hard drive.
I think I was on the verge of tears because I couldn't figure out how to fix this.
Remember your training, Scott!
No, not my Marine Corps Training.
It was the wisdom of Douglas Adams from "Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy."
Do you know that "Arthur C. Clarke said Douglas Adams' use of 'don't panic' was perhaps the best advice that could be given to humanity."
When you are your own IT department, you have to be vigilant and always on top of your computer's security.
I hunched over my computer for hours trying to figure it out.
Finally, I found a set of directions designed to delete and uninstall the malware. I followed the instructions and rid myself of the problem.
I know a little bit about computers. I've worked on computers since the 1980s. I know the ins and outs of doing stuff. What I realized while I was trying to solve this problem is there are billions of people out there who don't have my experience and don't know what I know. I'm not saying that I'm a genius on the computer, far from it. I failed my first computer programming class, dismally.
I still have nightmares. Nightmares where I was supposed to turn in a program, and I just hadn't worked on it at all. I turn up in class, and I am more than clueless — nightmares imitating life.
I wonder what people who haven't had my background would do. If I can get caught out, I think anybody can.
The best thing that came out of this incident is I realized how relaxed I had gotten about my computer security. I don't remember my computer ever being bit by a bug or infected by a virus. This infiltration taught me a lesson. My anti-virus software is now up to date, and I'm even more conscientious about what gets downloaded to my computer. I don't click on any external links unless I'm absolutely positively sure about their origin. I thought I was okay before, but I wasn't as good as I thought I was. You can't let your guard down for a second. There are bad people out there that want to do bad things.
I hate that there are bad people out there.
It's time for an adult beverage, and, of course, it's time for the weekend to begin.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Trail - 137 DAYS