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.

5 comments:

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!