Malware and midterms


Computer being fixed at the Tech Spot. Photo by Jessica Yanesh.

There’s not much worse than suddenly finding yourself staring bleary-eyed at a computer that refuses to work when exams and assorted term projects are looming on the horizon. The feeling of utter panic when you realize there’s no possible way for you to finish that paper due at 9 and your teacher doesn’t accept late work. Well, other that learning not to procrastinate, there are a few relatively quick fixes one can utilize to get back on track. For the technologically challenged the best option is of course to take it to a professional, but that takes time and costs money you may not have.

Last Friday I discovered, much to my dismay, that a fake anti-virus program called ‘XP Home Security 2011’ had installed itself on my computer. Once this little bundle of joy burrows itself into your hard drive it changes your system settings, makes it impossible to get online and sends out scads of pop-ups warning you about the more than 30 viruses you supposedly have waiting in the wings. It then offered to take care of the problem for a nominal fee.

This is a common scam among malware programs. Never pay them because not only will they take you for every penny they can, but given the chance, these types of programs will turn your computer into such a convoluted mess than not even Bill Gates could unravel it. Here are a few places to go or programs you can download when your computer comes down with the digital flu:

Best Buy is probably both one of the most well known sources of technological wisdom, but they can cost a pretty penny. Diagnostic services are $130, a fee which will later be applied to repair fees.

The Tech Spot is located in the Tri-Towers Rotunda and will remove viruses and spyware from your computer for $40.

My personal favorite anti-virus program is Norton Anti-Virus. It’s a basic anti-virus program, but does a better job at prevention and cleaning out lower level viruses that taking care of high-risk programs. It starts at $40 for a one year subscription and goes up if you want a longer subscription or more features.

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is a free program that effectively identifies and removes vicious software from your computer. Best used in conjunction with another anti-virus program.

Spyware Doctor is another popular program that works much the same way as Malwarebytes but costs $30 for a one-year subscription.

The above methods may work but it is always a better idea to take your computer to a professional, if only because it’s easier. Comment below and share your own computer meltdown horror stories.