I recently ran into computer problems. Well, join the club, right? My not so old H-P Pavillion started showing evidence that it had been infected with a virus. Now, this came as a complete surprise because I had a subscription to McAfee Anti-Virus Plus and the little window that pops-up when it is doing its thing, was showing all "OK"s, a bunch of green icons, all saying that things were hunky-dorey and I was fully protected.
But, when I began to see 'grey out' screens, unresponsive applications, and the speed slowed to a less than crawl, I just knew that all was not rosey in computer-land. So, I called Steve, my computer repair and recovery expert, and he said, "Sounds like you have a virus." So, he did his magic and a couple of days later, and $120 lighter, all is back to almost normal, which is to say there are some glitches, but it runs well enough to do what I ask of it....mostly. Steve warned me that it might have some corrupted files as a result of being infected and recovered.
In fact, it was not just 'a virus' it was a sizable list of them. Most of them were what is coyly referred to as 'malware', programs that are intended to get inside and simply wreak havoc with your computer. When I try to imagine who and why these are being created and sent out across the virtual universe....I picture some snot-nosed, pimple-faced kid in Bucharest, or Glenwood, who is chortling as he tells his hacker buddies how good he is at causing pains in lots of peoples' butts. I fervently wish these black-hearted weenies a life of unfulfilled fantasies and simmering pustules.
However, the real story here is not that there are such wankers out there. Nah, that's a given. There seems to be something about our society that creates the urge to act-out, and this seems a particularly effective and pain-free (cowardly) way to do that. The real story is that I was paying a major corporation to do one thing: to protect me from these idiots. And, for a mere $30 per year--automatically charged to my credit-card, like clockwork each March--they were sending me frequent updates, and telling me that my computer was being scanned in real-time by their program. And, every indication was that it was an effective means of fighting infections.
You might think that a billion dollar corporation whose very existence is predicated on offering a much needed and effective service...would want to make absolutely certain that IT WAS INDEED WORKING. But, apparently, you would be wrong if you labored under that impression. They are winging it, folks. And, your virtual life, i.e. identity, finances, private communications, and all the other aspects we have come to depend on the internet for.....is at risk.
Steve, the computer dude, told me that what I have gone through is not only common, but that I got off easily. If you really want actual protection, you need to not just subscribe to McAfee's service, you need to RE-PURCHASE the base program, and all of its possible upgrades EVERY OTHER YEAR, at least. In other words, just doing what most people believe is sufficient......IS NOT.
I'm quite sure that McAfee and Norton--both of which come as indigenous software in PCs and must be 'activated' at the end of a trial period--know that they are sitting on a GOLD MINE. I even spoke with one person who believes that these companies may 'encourage' hacking because it's good for their businesses. I can't go that far, but, let's just say that if all the hackers found some other way to annoy and destroy their businesses would cease to exist. It is definitely a symbiotic relationship between the companies and the weenies.
My response to all of this....was to uninstall McAfee, and install AVG Free, along with some other freeware that ferrets out threats and excises them effectively.....and is really doing it when it says it is.