I had feared this might happen from the day I began to rely on my computer for my work, the day I no longer had an IT department down the hall to support me. But like so many illnesses I walked around holding tight to the belief it would never happen to me. I paid for my preventive medicine, running virus scans with the same discipline I take my vitamins and exercise. But it didn't matter. It happened anyway.
A virus tried to infect my computer Wednesday. Yes, the very day I had an appointment at the Apple Store about switching to a Mac.
This was not a little virus. This one I imagined looked like The Blob in the classic horror film. The kind that won't be discouraged easily.
It appeared in a disguise. A tiny icon that looked almost like my Norton program. A big warning shouted out that a virus was worming its way in, getting my information, ready to corrupt my files and steal my data.
I knew something was wrong. A screen kept popping up asking for my credit card information before they would help stop this Blob like creature. I knew I had paid my Norton bill. I also knew what I had been taught from Corporate IT. NEVER open anything that looks suspicious!
Of course, now I was afraid to open any file for fear it would get corrupted. Including the one that had my Norton account information. Panic was trying to take over me, in the same way my Blob of a virus was trying to take over my computer. Had I backed up everything important? Why had I waited so long to get a new computer? I wondered where the virus came from. Was it that Facebook email that had corrupted a friends account? Or was it that surge of mail from the distribution list of those invited to the reunion of my classmates from JHS 172 in Bellerose ?
In a moment of sanity I remembered I had printed out all of my accounts and passwords and even had been so smart as to write down the phone number of Norton.
So there is a happy ending to this story. Through the miracle of the telephone I was connected with a representative in the Philippines who told me they could help me. They could walk me through how to sweep out this pest at a lower cost or I could give them access as an administrator and they could do it for me.
Guess which I chose? A credit card via the phone and a switch to another representative in India and in less than an hour the Blob had been squashed!
Yes, for a small cost, IT support for us work at homes is just a telephone call and a few continents away. My advice? Backup often, never open anything suspicious and keep those emergency numbers printed out and handy.