Infections of the Computer Kind

For this time of year, it seems I know/know of lots more people with bacterial/viral infections than I would expect. But whenever I start talking about “viruses,” people assume I’m talking about computers. That’s understandable, given the prevalence of hostile, vicious software succeeding in infecting so many computers, especially home computers. Neurotic hygiene, fastidious enough to make Monk seem normal, is the order of the day.

I keep seeing more and more computers so seriously infected that I see no choice but to retrieve whatever data can be retrieved, erase the disk, and re-install all the software. Computer manufacturers are making such “Full System Recovery” easier, but that is little consolation in the face of many hours of effort and the almost certain loss of some data.

This is inevitably most noticeable with Windows-based machines, for a number of reasons, but is true for other platforms, as well. I’m discouraged that I have so little constructive to say on the subject:

  • Use a firewall.
  • Use antivirus software and be sure it is up to date.
  • Use “spyware” detection software and be sure it is up to date.
  • When software vendors issue security patches, apply them right away.
  • In the words of Roky Erickson, “you got to be careful.”