Wednesday, 16 March 2011

&%#@* viruses!!!

"I don't trust thumbdrives any more," declared my friend, shortly before starting his presentation, as he downloaded his Powerpoint slides from his email using the laptop that was connected to the projector. "They are always giving me viruses."

To my friend I say, I feel you, man. I recently had a nasty encounter with a stubborn virus. Well, it was my fault for the most part of it. I was rushing to get home when somebody asked me to print a document. The problem was at the time the Internet was at crawl-speed.

The printer was hooked to a PC that was not only slow but also virus-ridden. The people there told me upload my document into my email and download it again at that PC. "Don't plug in your thumbdrive there, the virus is bad," I was warned. So I sat at another PC across the room, waiting for ages to get Yahoo! Mail to load fully.

I got impatient. I wanted to avoid the heavy traffic, so whattaheck, I ignored the warning, stuck my thumbdrive into the USB slot, remembering that I just updated my anti-virus the night before. No worries.

Document printed, I went home, and readied my poor infected thumbdrive for a good scrubbing. I have two anti-viruses installed in two different machines and I was feeling confident.

And Great God Almighty, how my chest tighten when I clicked on my files, freshly cleaned and shampooed, only to find that they cannot be opened.

After screaming at myself, mentally, for a good 5 minutes or so, I plopped myself on the chair, thinking of ways to recover my lost files.

Theoretically speaking (and I mean this very loosely because I'm no computer expert), computer viruses are designed to harm our machines. We may be able to get remove them but they may have already done some damage. In my case, the virus turned my files into useless icons.

I decided to try something that I thought (again, 'theoretically speaking') should make my files recoverable. As most viruses are designed to attack Windows, they should be rendered harmless in other operating systems. And thank God I have Ubuntu Linux installed.

My so-called theory proved to be correct. When I browsed through the content of my thumbdrive in Ubuntu Linux, everything looked OK. It was as if the virus did nothing to thumbdrive at all.

It seems that different operating systems are like different eco-systems. I was told by a few Macbook owners that they weren't worried in the slightest about viruses because MacOS can't get infected by viruses. (Unless it's MacOS virus, but that's a rare species.) I observed the same for Linux. Perhaps the virus or the damage it left behind is still there, but it is as threatening as a fully sedated tiger.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

By the way, I just learned that this year the computer virus turns 40. That's 40 years of spreading misery to countless number of people all over the world.

[ 40th anniversary of the computer virus ]

*I don't condone cursing or swearing and this is as far as I go


mudin001 said...

I feel for you too, man! :)

r.o.l. said...

I was all fired-up when I wrote this. Hence the title. :-P

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