Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Computer Up To Date? by Andy Scheer

In the past two weeks I remembered to do some seasonal home maintenance—replacing furnace filters, installing snow tires, and cleaning the gutters. But I neglected to update the anti-spyware definitions on our upstairs shared computer. Mistake.

Sunday morning, before my wife and I drove up to Denver to attend the downtown “Tuba Christmas” concert, I turned on the computer to check our shared email account.

Instead I got an official-looking notice from “Vista Home Security 2012” that our computer had been infected. But the pop-up assured me there was a simple solution. All I had to do was click “yes” to a few boxes and our computer would again be secure.

Bogus. I'm no techie, but I know that neither my wife nor I had installed such a program.

Instead, on the advice of our son--a professional programmer--we rely on two programs: “Avast” for virus protection and “SUPERAntiSpyware” for further protection. The downside of using this (free) version for spyware protection is that I need to update the definitions regularly, then click a few buttons so the program scans our computers.

And I'd neglected that for a few weeks. Fortunately I recognized the alerts were a trap, trying to lure me to “register” the program--and in the process steal my financial information.

The solution was relatively simple. I restarted the computer in “safe” mode, ran a full system scan with the anti-virus software, updated the anti-spyware definitions, then ran the anti-spyware program—twice. Since then, no problem. But I did add an important upgrade: a tiny sticky note on the bottom of my monitor on which I've jotted “spyware update” and the date.


Rick Barry said...

Home computers are probably the greatest technological invention so far in my lifetime, but hackers and virus-makers are among the worst nuisances. Every time my PC suffered from one attack or another, my friend would echo, "You should get a Mac. They're not susceptible to viruses." Well, this week I switched to using a new Mac in my office. So far, so good. Feels odd not having Norton or McAfee or something, but I can get used to that. We'll see....

Diana said...

Just spent an hour with my IT guy and now I am speedy gonzalous again. Makes things much less frustrating. Good post Andy.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Good reminder. I too have a techi son for whom I am grateful on many different levels.

Amanda Stephan said...

Eek! Thanks for the reminder! I'm going to have to check that out. I'm not a techie and a little forgetful if I don't write it down, so up goes my reminder post-it note.

Linda Glaz said...

And don't forget to defrag often if yours doesn't do it automatically. A good defrag will also add speed and it's as simple as eating an ice cream cone! Just not as yummy!