After some diagnosis, I discovered the virus had a name: “Ads4You”. Wayne Gregson

I had a bad infection last week. Its symptoms were raging headaches, waves of heated annoyance and random attacks of foul language.

After some diagnosis, I discovered the virus had a name: “Ads4You”. It had wormed its nasty way into my otherwise quite sensible home computer where it hid behind some perfectly normal programs, and quietly sucked all joy out of life.

Every time I went on my favourite online auction or sale sites, after about 20 seconds or so, other ads would spring up in the middle of the screen, and any efforts to close them or push them to the waste bin lasted only a second or two and BANG, back they came.

I was aware that it was best to have a firewall or anti-virus protection and I thought I had that. Indeed, I checked and I did. But this rotten little basket had slipped in behind something else in the past few days and was having a darkly delirious time mucking about inside. 

It took days for me to research what this was, how it had been freed in my home and what to do about it.

Some efforts failed. Especially after the scary American female voice warned me I’d lost control of my own computer, all my deeply personal identification details would be downloaded in five minutes unless I paid someone a lot of money.

At that point I followed the advice Mrs Whacked usually passes on when I’m having a hissy fit about something going wrong: Turn it off and go do something else for a while.

As a logical bloke, I always argue this is rat-brained nonsense. But there was nothing else left to do.

Crash exit. Blink. Shutdown. Half an hour later I had worked it out. Curse you female logic.

But there’s one thing I still don’t understand: who makes these malware or spyware viruses? Who constructs the evil Trojan horses which innocently carry fury and chaos into ordinary people’s ordinary world?

It turned out that this particular pustulent bug is designed to keep popping unwanted ads in front of millions of eyes, so that the hackers can then go back to the company whose goods were in these junk ads and claim massive payments for spreading their information.

It’s like junk mail on steroids. Instead of just thrusting the ads into your letterbox, they break into your house and force you to read the catalogues under threat of stealing everything you own.

It must be a crime. There must be a law somewhere which stops people from being unmitigated annoying prats. But you never hear of anyone being charged or put in jail.

Some say the weedy sunken chested nerds who create these bugs, bots and bits often do it just for fun. 

I’d like to lock them in a small dank room, with no computer and electrical wires attached to their gentlemen’s departments where they’d get a 24-volt jock shock every time one of their nasty creations leapt from an innocent computer program.

You don’t get this exterior violation in any other bit of your life. Your fridge doesn’t suddenly go feral and decide that it won’t work anymore unless you immediately buy a kilogram of salad dressing.

Or you don’t get your car sulking and suddenly announcing it will only turn left from now on unless you drive to Sydney and give a pimply kid 50 bucks. Or saying: Error 404, Third gear no longer available in this car.

Or … Error: Denial of Service. This column has been terminated at source.

WAYNE GREGSON

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