When daughters speak to mothers it’s because they want to talk. When daughters speak to fathers it’s because they want something.
You take what you get.
Stef was calling on behalf of her friend Christina. Everything on her computer screen was stretched. Could I help?
Could I help? Does Bill Gates have a bad haircut? Please!
A few minutes later we were on a conference call with Stef in California, Christina in New Jersey and me here in Connecticut. I had Christina download the TeamViewer.com software and within two minutes I was in. Thirty seconds later the problem was solved!
Wow, I’m good.
Actually I had an idea what the problem was before I went in. A simple reset of the screen resolution did the trick.
Christina now thinks of me as a god. Stef scores major friend points.
The second tech problem was a little more complex. One of my co-workers asked me to look at his Toshiba laptop. A few minutes after booting it consistently popped a Blue Screen of Death and shut itself down.
Microsoft is constantly improving its game by issuing patches and fixes. This computer had never had any installed–none! The clock was three hours slow because no one had ever reset it from the default Pacific time it ran when it was taken out of the box two years ago.
There were multiple signs of unsafe computing including myriad toolbars in the browser and at least four antivirus programs. I was pretty sure one of those was a virus itself!
In a situation like this stabilizing the patient comes first. I had to find a way to work on the PC without it shutting down.
Without getting too bogged in detail (maybe I’m already past that point) after an hour I was able to install Microsoft Essentials Security which found more viruses than a daycare center during flu season! Here’s a sample of one ‘optional’ program on board.
Win32/Alureon – a family of data-stealing trojans. These trojans allow an attacker to intercept incoming and outgoing Internet traffic in order to gather confidential information such as user names, passwords, and credit card data. The Win32/Alureon trojan may also allow an attacker to transmit malicious data to the infected computer. The trojan may modify DNS settings on the host computer to enable the attacker to perform these tasks.
That’s seriously bad.
It’s been neutralized now. Some Trojans respawn themselves when found! I’ll have to recheck later. Scary.
I anticipate this computer will be close to purring by the time I go to sleep. At least 96 Windows updates (over 700 megabytes to download) will get installed followed by another virus scan, toolbar removal and a check of the DNS and Hosts settings.
If you’re saying this stuff is too complex for most users, you’re right. In order to allow PC owners to install the programs they want there are lots of open security holes. When the computer is neither maintained or update the threat is worse.
Alas, the average user is always the weakest link.