We’ve all seen the “low fuel” light come on in our vehicles. Most of the time, we promptly pull into a gas station and take care of the situation. Sometimes, though, we use a variety of excuses to delay action: “I don’t have time to stop right now.” “I’d rather not spend my weekend ‘fun’ money on gas.” “That gauge is always wrong, I have plenty of gas left.”
Inaction usually results in a pleading phone call to a friend or a long walk to the gas station with an empty milk jug in hand. Filling up earlier wouldn’t have been that difficult; but it’s our nature to “put off until tomorrow ....” Just as the “low fuel” light should have spurred action; recent events should be our wake-up call in regards to our computers.
In the past month, world events have shown that there are bad guys out to get us. This is not a political column, so we don’t need to delve into the wide array of groups and organizations that have their eyes set on making us miserable. One event that has hit close to home, however, is the cyber attack perpetrated against the U.S. and South Korea. Many feel that North Korea is to blame, but evidence is still being gathered. While the identity of the hacker will hold a wide array of political ramifications, we only need to know that the attacks were real.
This time, the virus infected computers and encrypted user data or reformatted hard drives. Some of the biggest government and commercial Web sites were sidelined, a fact that shows just how serious these guys were. Personal computer users were also infected; but some didn’t heed warnings from experts. According to security specialists, those who ignored warnings and instructions woke up to find that they had lost data from their hard drives.
If we are proactive, we’ll be fine — just like keeping sufficient gas in the tank will keep us off the side of the highway. Experts have recommended a few ways to rid computers of the virus once infected. Some of the examples include starting Windows in safe-mode, resetting the clock to an earlier date while security updates are performed, updating anti-virus programs, and scanning the computer for the virus.
The most important thing we can do, however, is to perform preventive maintenance on our computers regularly. That anti-virus software we purchased three years ago needs the proper updates to make it relevant. Spyware programs that may have slipped through the cracks should be regularly cleaned from our systems. Patches and other tools from operating systems and software programs should be updated. These steps will ensure that our computers are secure, efficient and headache-free.
Computer Problem Specialists will perform a free scan of your computer to identify any potential problems. Our trained technicians will be able to find any malicious program on your computer — call (928)-468-0000 to get started.
This is our wake-up call. We pull the covers over our heads at our own risk.
Daniel Taft is the senior network administrator and member/owner of Computer Problem Specialists, LLC with a degree in applied computer science. His career spans more than 20 years.