V is for . . . Virus–Watch Out for Bugs in Your Computer

Wednesday I was feeling all right, just a little tired. Then, about 3:00, things changed. I was still tired, but now achy all over, and my throat felt like it was full of coffee grounds. Uh-oh. I had to sing at church for the kids, then do choir practice. I made it through, hoping I was just tired from the steady stream of Easter singing events. But no. The sore throat turned from gravel to knives. My nose started to run. By bedtime, I was speaking to the dog in sign language. I looked in my medical encyclopedia and deduced that I probably have a virus, one I’ve had before. Rats.

Meanwhile, my laptop computer caught a virus, too. Have any of you had notices that pop up on your screen telling you that “you must download the latest version of Adobe Flash to view this content”? Don’t. I got tired of looking at it, so I clicked “okay” and installed the dang thing. Next thing I knew, ads and TV commercials were popping up all over my computer. I mean, I’m writing along and suddenly there’s a voice talking to me about cars or arthritis pills.

I was in the process of buying a new computer (typing on it now, love it), so I asked my computer guy about the popups. He shook his head. “You’ve got a virus. That program you downloaded was a scam. Not the Real Adobe Flash.” Nuts. I have been so careful with my laptop. I used an antivirus program and never opened any emails that looked suspicious. But one click, and it was sick. I ran scans, and I told my antivirus program to get rid of the infected files. Well, it tried. But the next day when I booted up, I got the blue screen, the fatal error screen. I rebooted. Same thing. I took it to the shop. Spent $69 to have it cleaned out.

As my computer guy said, every computer gets viruses. But there are some things you can do.

  1. Install an antivirus program and keep it up to date. If it doesn’t automatically scan your computer on a regular basis, take the time to do a scan on your own at least once a week. Don’t install more than one antivirus program; they’ll render each other ineffective.
  2. Don’t open emails or attachments that don’t come from recognized sources.
  3. Don’t click on links from people you don’t know.
  4. Don’t download anything just because a popup tells you that you need to. If you didn’t ask for it, you probably don’t want it.
  5. If you’re not a techie, don’t try to fix it yourself.

 I’m going to pick up my rejuvenated laptop today and hope that all of my files are intact. I welcome your suggestions for combatting viruses in both humans and computers.

V is for virus. I have almost reached the end of April’s A to Z blog challenge. My posts can be found in my three blogs, Unleashed in Oregon, Childless by Marriage, and Writer Aid. Visit Unleashed in Oregon tomorrow to find out what W stands for.

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