Monday, August 30, 2010

285 Security Risks???

Late Monday night, the Daddy came home.  It had been a long day.  He’d had three jobs and then had gotten together with a friend for an hour or two.  It was almost ten in the evening and he hadn’t had any supper.  His stomach growled fiercely, but he was too tired and too hungry to take the time to cook anything.  He found ham and cheese in the fridge and slapped them onto some bread, along with some nice spicy mustard.  He dumped the sandwich and some grapes on a plate and headed into the office to check his email.  

When he walked into the office he noticed that his computer was on.  He thought that was odd, as he was almost sure he had turned it off this morning before he’d left.  Perhaps he’d been preoccupied and had left it on.  No big deal.  He put down his dinner and tapped the mouse to disengage the screen saver and the screen came alive with messages from his anti-virus program.  The largest one informed him that there were 285 security risks.  That was impossible.  He’d just done a full scan two days ago, and it had been fine.  Not a single risk found on Saturday and now 285 on Monday.  Two. Hundred. And. Eighty. Five.  Ridiculous.  

He clicked through to the next screen, and saw a list of the problems found by the program.  Still not believing it, he shut down the window and started a full virus scan.  Within seconds the program started registering security risks.  Three, eight, fifteen – no it was too painful to watch.  He grabbed the sandwich and headed for the radio room where he had the yarn lady’s old laptop computer set up.  He’d check that one.  As he walked out the back door he muttered, “If that one has computer viruses like the one in the office does, I’ll just shoot myself and get it over with.  I’m tired.  I can’t deal with this.”  

Rudy heard this, and wondered what in the world he could mean.  Computer viruses on the office computer?  It had been fine when she downloaded the photos this morning, so how could it be messed up now?  

Rudy understood computer viruses.  She’d watched a show about viruses and worms and malware on television with the Mommy one night and had gone on to do some research on her own, as it seemed quite interesting.  She had thought it might be fun to develop a non-quite malware program that would do silly things to Mommy and Daddy’s computers, like turn the cursor into a little mouse or cheese icon, but had given up the idea when she learned she’d need to write computer programs.  But who in the world would want to harm Daddy’s computer.  She went inside and jumped up on the desk to see what was up.  

The virus scan program was running, and it had detected over a hundred security risks.  Those were either viruses or worms or malware or a dozen other types of programs that could damage the computer or even steal information off it.  This was almost as bad as the identity theft that Rudy had prevented by not sending Daddy’s personal information to that man in Nigeria.  Wait a second…when she had downloaded those photos, two of the files hadn’t worked.  Maybe those weren’t photos at all, but rather programs that then pulled other programs off the internet and onto to Daddy’s computer.  And she hadn’t even turned it off!  It had been at least twelve hours since she’d been on the computer.  How many programs could have been downloaded onto the computer in that time?  

Just then Daddy walked into the office.  “Well, Rudy, at least that old laptop is okay.  I’d think that the newer computer would less vulnerable than the old one, but you never know.  Humph.”  He plopped down in the chair and lifted Rudy off the keyboard.  “How many viruses now?”  He looked at the screen and said something quite rude.  “Four hundred and twelve security risks?  Well, at least it’s says it’s finished.  But why are none of them resolved?  Isn’t an anti-virus program supposed to remove them?  Aaargh!”  Rudy got the impression that if Daddy’s hair was long enough, he’d be pulling it out in frustration.  

He sighed, and clicked on through to the next screen.  It was full of links to follow to manually remove all of the viruses, along with instructions to disconnect the internet connection as soon as the instructions were printed, to prevent even more threats to the computer.  

“I don’t get this.  From this information, it looks like someone must have downloaded a Trojan horse program to the computer that then loaded all these other things.  This is going to take hours to fix.  I can’t deal with this now.”  Daddy printed out the pages he’d need to remove the problems and practically yanked the wire that connected the computer to the internet.  

“I’m going to bed, Rudy.  I’ll deal with this tomorrow, providing I don’t get any calls for work.  I got so much done today and have no routine jobs scheduled for the next two days.  Good thing.  It may take me that long to fix this.”

If cats could cry tears, Rudy would have been crying her eyes out.  She knew it was all her fault, and now Daddy would have to do all the work to fix the problem she caused.  She sat on the floor in shock, trembling with emotions she couldn’t express.  She’d never be able to make it up to Daddy.  

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