I’m a 90’s child, like most (if not all) of the undergrads on campus; as such, I’m also a member of one of the first generations of people to have serious, in-depth Internet access. I remember my family getting a Windows 95 for Christmas. I remember sitting in front of the screen for hours, moving from Freddi Fish computer games to Neopets (the coolest virtual pets ever to exist). To me, it feels like my generation grew up with the Internet… Which is part of the reason why, I think, I scrambled to process what was happening when UD’s IT shut off my computer’s internet access Tuesday morning.
After jumping through the hoops of phone-calls and finding something else on which to access the web, I found that IT was claiming my computer had a virus. I’m a nerd, and a bit of a goody-two-shoes one to boot… Not to mention, my big websites are Twitter and Facebook. Where I could have gotten a virus from, I had no idea.
Much to my disappointment, IT wasn’t much of a help explaining how or why I’d gotten this virus. All they sent me was its name, before instructing me to clean my computer as soon as possible if I wanted access to UD Internet again. I could clean it myself, go to an outside source, or pay IT $85 to do it for me, regarding a problem I wasn’t even sure existed… Frustration and the beginnings of distress turned to anger at the fact that I’d gotten a virus I was sure I’d done nothing wrong to receive.
Since I don’t have $85 to blow on a whim (or a virus), I decided to clean my computer myself. It takes quite a bit of time for the scans to run, so while they were doing their thing, I did some research on the virus IT told me I had… And found that it was not only essentially harmless, but could indeed jump from computer to computer. Anyone on campus could have it, and could have unintentionally transferred it to my computer.
I was downright frustrated and disappointed by this realisation. Someone else, whoever first contracted this computer virus, had done something illegal, and now I was wasting my time (and could have been wasting my money!) cleaning it up! When the scans came up clean, and IT restored my internet connection the next morning, I’d simmered a bit, but here’s what still gets me.
It wasn’t my fault that my computer got that virus, and that same thing could happen to anyone else on this campus. Instead of locking out my connection, I wish IT had caught the person who first downloaded the virus: the person who had done something wrong, not the awkward bystander who happened to catch it. IE, me. I’m glad I didn’t fork over close to $100 to have the virus removed, but some people might have, all for something that isn’t their fault. But, dear reader, if this ever happens to you, run the following three, free programs to get the best DIY clean: RogueKiller, Malwarebyes, and Spybot.