Monday, April 25, 2011

Adware and malware and spyware, oh my!

Even after hours on the phone with Dell techs last week, the fake antivirus program Vista Internet Security 2011 struck again. So I spent yet more hours on the phone with Dell techs last night. Only this time, they interrogated me. Where did I buy this computer? Did I buy it in my name or someone else's (they seemed to think I bought it for someone else, for some reason). After arguing with no less than three different reps, they finally assigned someone to help me. And we spent hours again on the phone. He did fix it remotely, but I learned that my one-year service warranty only covered four major incidents. I've now used up half of those in about a week, so you do the math. The Dell tech said repeated attacks by this vicious program will eventually also kill my hardware. So I'm basically boxed in a corner, and have no idea what to do.

Now I'm afraid to venture far onto the Net without a net. It occurred to me to search for a cute pic of an ailing computer, but that would have involved visiting potentially unsafe sites, so I nixed that idea.

I'm afraid to use my computer for what I need to do, which is a real conundrum. I *think* I know which site infected me, as Vista Internet Security 2011 began popping up like crazy during both visits to it, but that also presents a conundrum. I'd found some really great artwork on that site, perfect for a re-release of The Duende and The Muse. But now I can't re-connect with the artist, who was open to allowing me to use it. *sigh* So - Wolfgang from Deviant Art, who created The Magic Book, if you have a Google alert and find this, please email me at my Google account: cate.masters AT I apologize for not being able to respond, but crashed in the middle of both attempts.

And if anyone has any advice about what to do about this conundrum, please share with a comment. I'm seriously at a loss. :(

Oh, and if I happen to disappear and don't respond to emails, it's probably because Vista killed my PC again. I fear it's only a matter of time.


Maria Zannini said...

I am so sorry to hear about your computer problems. I swear every time it happens to me I lose three years of my life.

If it were me, I'd start making back ups of all your doc files. Then do a swipe of your computer sending it back to a previous time when it was working properly.

When it happened to me, I happened to know someone who could help. After several attempts to fix it, he was forced to wipe my computer clean. It was like a blank slate. He reloaded my drivers. And I reloaded my software and documents.

Longest day of my life.

Cate Masters said...

Thanks so much Maria - sorry to hear you had problems too. It is harrowing. I have backed up my docs but some software I bought online and downloaded, which I guess I should make a list...

It just makes me so angry that I have to limit what I need to do online because of some hacker. Just think what an impact these obviously intelligent people could make if they channeled their efforts into something positive instead. What a waste of talent.