Friday, March 20, 2009


don't you love the unexpected? two days ago i booted my laptop and was greeted with a single error message. it locked the computer so i wound up having to manually cut the power and then reboot. this time, it didn't shut down, but boy oh boy did my anti-virus software have a few things to say to me. i was on my rather slow computer for about a minute and suddenly my desktop was a mosaic of virus alerts and messages stating that messages i had sent were not delivered because the respective recipient e-mail noted it as spam. which of course it was.

so, it seemed that somehow someone had attempted to use my computer as a spam server. i enlisted brad (my resident computer whiz roommate) and we began file hunting to try to destroy the virus. we were moderately successful. after the virus alert's ten minute cycle of alerting me that "my" e-mails were undelivered, we explored and found "s.exe", which was mysteriously installed earlier that day. i'm still not sure how exactly i downloaded this file without realizing it, but oh well. anyway, eventually we killed the file and anything touching it so we could actually operate the computer as with the file still up it insisted on keeping full demand of my processor. we cleaned the place out and were finally able to reboot in safe mode.

blessed be the computer engineer who was the cause of the "system restore" feature. he (or she, to be fair) has saved my digital heinie more times than i can count, so thanks.

anyway, it was eventually cleared off and the system was restored to 8:38 am of the same day and all was well. well, almost.

you see, because i was uncertain as to the nature of my viral friend, i was unware of it's intent. fearing it would either have ben a key stroke memory program or one that could download my firefox details, i borrowed brad's computer and flushed out all my old passwords with new ones. this all went fine except when i later tried to log back onto my gmail account.

this is my theory as to what happened: gmail was the first password i reset. i usually try to have four main passwords: an easy one for things i don't care about, a medium one for things that are important, a hard one for things that are very important or are normally especially easy to hack, and an impossible one for anything to do with money. well, gmail is the third one. very difficult. and... apparently in my haste to reset all my passwords, i forgot to write down what i changed it to, and thus i had now idea what pattern or what have you was my password, spent half an hour guessing and failing, and eventually had to wait a day and restore it with my security question. so it all turned out in the end, but what a train of events.

the final thought i had after all of this was simply that, if my computer is to be hacked, please make the hack cool enough that even though i'm mad, i'm still impressed. for example, zero cool from the film hackers. pull a stunt like his, and i'll be angry but still impressed.

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