Some nights, I feel like I have a second job: running the tech support department of Chez Strom. It is always nice to know that I can get a "real" job when I need it, but honestly maintaining my home computers running Windows 98 isn't my idea of having fun with the family. It is almost enough to make me want to go back to using Macs at home. Ironically, one of my original reasons for buying a Mac circa 1992 was to not have to support my family running Windows 3.1. My how times have (not!) changed.
For the time being, I am stuck with Windows and most days I don't have to do much in the way of support. But twice in this past week we had virus warnings. While the "Bubbleboy" virus got lots of press (and I received at least six emails from various vendors who sell protection systems), the more nefarious virus was "Fun Love." Bubbleboy can infect your PC through an email attachment -- if you are running Outlook Express, you don't even have to open the message to catch this one, and will send out loads of spam to your entire address book. Fun Love can change your NT file permissions and open your shared directories to the world. You can read more about both, along with all the other viruses running amok out there, at both Network Associates' and Symantec's virus pages. I like the Network Associates page better because of the hoax information, but use Symantec's Norton Anti-Virus software on all of my computers.
Given these warnings, I set about to deal with updating my protection for them. It wasn't simple. Much of this comes under the heading of the more you know, the harder you have to work. If you are concerned about these viruses, you might want to follow these steps:
All of this took about two hours running back and forth from one machine to the other. It is a shame that Windows has gotten so complicated, and such a popular target for virus authors to try to attack. But at least now I can sleep better knowing that my family's computers are protected. Maybe tomorrow night we'll have some time to go out for dinner and a movie.
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