(Friday-even though I can’t get Blogger to admit it.)
No, no. Not physical death. Not car hijacking.
We’re talking computer death and browser hijacking.
I’ve spent the last two days with Bijan. Nope. Not a contracted individual from another country. But a nice American, flesh-and-blood person from a computer support company without the word “geek” in their name.
Anyone who knows me will confirm I run a tight ship. Never had a virus infection that didn’t get caught by my obsessively up-to-date virus/security/spyware all-in-one mega-defender of my faith in safe surfing. I’m talking in 20+ years of computer, I have never had anything. That all changed Tuesday when I was following up on some piracy due diligence. (which point forces me to post the lovely visual reminder of our books to illustrate this blog. Not my fault. Really.)
I noticed the tiniest of “blips” when I hit a site. Even now I can’t tell you what happened because nothing happened. Other than my feeling like something did happen. I left the site immediately. My mega-defender didn’t squawk. My mega-defender was up-to-date. My mega-defender was on. So, I closed up shop and began again the next day, reasonably certain that all was well in Debra-Land.
Suddenly, about mid-morning, my browser went to a website other than the one I thought I clicked. After a moment’s consternation, I said, “Oh, wait. There’s my website in another tab. I must have accidently clicked a Google ad.” And then it happened again. And again. The Google listings were false. I wasn’t allow to manual start mega-defender scanning. I wasn’t allowed to go to “cleansing sites” of the mega-defenders. Any attempts to type direct URL’s were met with maniacal virtual laughter and a browser redirect to another “Buy it now, dammit!” site.
Fine. I’ve never met a fight I didn’t enjoy. “Bring it you slimy rat bastard.” I switched immediately to Mozilla Firefox. I managed to get to mega-defender, but by then Rat Bastard had caught up to me and began redirecting me off the mega-defender page.
Fine. I go to AOL, its sweet little browser probably forgotten in the evil Rat Bastard programming. And score! I get back to mega-defender and run an online scan. It found a virus. I wrote down the name. But the evil program stopped me from “buying” and downloading anything from mega-defender and locked up my computer.
I reboot, foolishly believing that mega-defender will catch this on start up. Not only did mega-defender NOT do diddlily, it let the Rat Bastard disable my mouse usb port.
Fine. “You want to play that way? You want a piece of me? You can’t HANDLE me!” I rebooted in Safe Mode and fetched my wireless keyboard and mouse. Poof. I was back in business. But who wants to live in safe mode? And I didn’t trust the Rat Bastard not to do more unfathomable bad things, so I went to a command prompt. Yes, DOS. I speak DOS. It’s little embarrassing to admit, but there you have it.
I backed up all my data (pretty much all current, but I never take chances). With DOS. A job I hope never to have to repeat. The next morning, Bijan entered my life. About 3 hours and a Diet Dr. Pepper later he pronounced me risen from the dead. And left. About 3 hours after that my computer threw down again. ::sigh:: Rat bastard. Sneaky Rat Bastard. This time he took my mouse out first thing. Now that’s scary. A browser hijacker that LEARNS on the job.
Bijan came back this morning. Did many more exhaustive things. And trust me, I was yanking registry entries and services right and left the night before. It wasn’t like I hadn’t tried to get a handle on it. But it was SOOOO many places. Bijan took it personally. He was a man on a mission.
In some ways I have to thank SRB (slimy/sneaky Rat Bastard) for this experience. My computer has never run faster. Interestingly enough, through it all, the other three computers in the network were unaffected. I fed them extra canned air and told them how proud I was of them.
How about you? Are you ready for a crash? Got that data backed up? Got that book backed up?