Saturday, April 27, 2013

5 Common Misconceptions That Destroy Computers

By Jack Cheese

#5. "This Computer-Boosting Software Can't Be a Scam -- I Saw It on TV!"

You know how you keep telling your mom that those pop-up virus scanners and late night TV commercials are scams? The ones that claim that they can make your computer faster and get rid of the evil plague of viruses that inhabit all computers at all times? You know, like this one:

And you know how, as many times as you've told her that these are scams, she just keeps falling for it over and over, telling you that she knows it's a legitimate program because it found things that were wrong with her computer and then fixed them for her? And how she believes that it's against the law for commercials to bold-faced lie to their potential customers? I need you to bring her to the computer right now and have her read the following message:

That program didn't find or fix jack shit. You're wrong, and the person who's been warning you about those programs is more right than you will ever be about any subject as long as you live. Listen to the person showing you this paragraph, because I cannot stress enough how incredibly right they are and how catastrophically, embarrassingly wrong you are.

Those programs are purposely designed to be deceitful -- to trick you into thinking that it discovered hundreds or even thousands of "infected" files on your system, all while pumping actual bad files into what could very well be a perfectly clean computer. The way they make their money is by tricking you into thinking you have problems, showing you a fake report loaded with lots of red text and X's. and then charging you $40 ("Activate Your Software" in the above image) to "fix" the "problems."
One thing you are correct about, Mom, is that it is as illegal as a child fuck to practice deceptive advertising in this manner. And these sorts of companies have already built reputations as con artists and pieces of shit, and courts have already had to step in and shut down their advertisements, if only temporarily.

They will use any means necessary to get your money and personal information. The only reason they haven't broken into your house and directly stolen your purse is because they aren't just criminals ... they're lazy fuckheads who can't even bother getting their fat asses out of their own chairs in order to steal. No, your computer probably didn't have viruses. It had a dishonest program on it, choking the life out of your system. And you paid money for it.

#4. "My Computer Is Slow. It Has to Be a Virus!

The problem here is that people use the word "virus" to mean "bad program doing weird things to my computer," but there are some important distinctions to make, because they have different solutions. If you do have a nasty virus -- an actual virus -- there's an excellent chance you'll need to get help from a professional. But what you probably have is much easier to fix.

If I've fixed 500 computers in my life, I can count on one hand how many of them had an actual "virus." The rest were all malware, an overload of spyware, or a Trojan horse, all of which are much easier to remove.

And yes, even you can do it, Grandma! I know I just made you afraid of free "fix my computer" software, but there are some that not only are safe to download, but are really must-haves: Spybot and Malwarebytes. Download, follow the instructions, and they'll give your computer a much-needed bullshit enema. There's a good chance your "virus" will flush right out, without having to bother any of your more tech-savvy friends.

"But I'm computer illiterate. What if I mess someth-"

Just run the goddamn fucking programs! It cannot be easier than how I've just made it for you. It's time to stop annoying your children or grandchildren and start learning this shit for yourself. I'm asking you to click a few buttons ... the same thing that some of you pay a "computer guy" hundreds of dollars to do. Once you click those, it really is as easy as just walking away while the scanners do their thing. When you come back later, you'll see another button that says something like "Fix this bullshit." Click that bitch, and you're done. Then the next time your younger "computer genius" relative comes over, you can say, "I learned how to fix the computer myself. I finally realized that you're just a dumbass who knows how to use Google. Your computer skills ain't shit, asshole. Get out of my house, you worthless fraud. You bring our family nothing but shame."

Now, if you are unlucky enough to get an actual virus (which can do anything from hijacking your whole system to turning it into a useless brick), those can take some research and a little more than average skill, because some viruses can be particularly nasty. If that's the case, you may be forced to call your relative again and sweet talk your way past their previous memories of you being a condescending prick to them. And even then, you may be saying ...

#3. "It Can't Be a Virus -- I Have an Antivirus Program!"

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

  1. If you own Windows, there really are two solutions to virus-like symptoms:

    * Versioned backups, preferably offsite with multiple vendors and at the house with multiple different pieces of media.

    * Installation media.

    When Windows looks back at you the least bit funny, reinstall.

    Even Macs occasionally need a restore from Time Machine, much less a Windows box that's managed to pick up every piece of crud code in the world.

    Oh, and if someone offers you a neat FREE GAMES! install, DON'T. I spent two days removing a trojan from my neighbor's computer, and the next day it was back. "But all I did was go back and get my poker game again...."