Friday, April 3, 2009

A not-so exclusive club!

Computer techs in India are savvy people.

My respect for their training, patience and skill grew immeasurably yesterday, particularly in the person of one young man, Amit, who spent nearly the entire day trying to rid my hard drive of a particularly vicious Trojan. When I was younger, a Trojan was something we girls giggled about. And, as I've gotten older and somewhat computer knowledgable, I did learn the new meaning of the word, but never had first-hand, closeup experience with one. Operative word ... had.

On Tuesday, my computer began reacting sluggishly to commands. Nothing to alarm me, mind you, just hesitance to obey my wishes. But Wednesday brought the frightful truth. I couldn't access the internet using Internet Explorer and found my browser taking me to strange, unrequested places without explanation or recourse. In a minor panic, I called my daughter and son-in-law, both of whom are my tech gurus who can solve any problem. Not this one, it turned out, despite both their efforts, mostly my daughter's. Terri researched the symptoms and found the recommended remedies, all of which we tried for several hours. By nightfall, we thought we had it under control and I went to bed, leaving my computer humming away as my Norton antivirus did a complete system scan so we'd be sure we'd succeeded.

Then came yesterday morning. Confident I would be able to boot up the computer and resume life as I know it, I dashed into the office and was terribly dismayed to find IE still sending me to points unknown, this time accompanied by an error message I'd never seen before. That's when good fortune led me to Amit.

After sitting through several calls to Verizon to determine that I was properly connected, I was sent packing to the manufacturer of my computer, Dell, who as most of us are aware, maintains its primary call center in India. With the first two techs stumped, I was sent to the young man who was touted as their malware expert. With a great sense of humor, super people skills and a tenaciousness that was admirable, Amit began his quest to eradicate my Trojan at about 9:30 a.m. (our time). He took control of my computer and then performed his magic, thwarting every effort of the sleazy virus to override his efforts. At times, the bug seemed to be winning but Amit pulled out every trick he knew and eventually slayed the enemy, restoring my computer to useability by about 3 p.m. Of course, none of this was free, but the cost was well worth it.

Now to the Trojan. I will never understand why anyone would spend brain power and time developing tools of destruction like viruses, Trojans and worms. Amit explained to me that the creators are well paid for their effort by people who stand to gain by disruption on a mass scale. Why???? I felt nothing but anger and resentment toward these disrupters as I struggled to rid my computer of their invasion and they gained nothing by disabling me.

I've learned a lot through this brief encounter with malicious codes. I will no longer open an attachment unless it is something I've requested from a person I know. I won't let a day go by without running an update of my antivirus definitions so stuff like this won't get into my hard drive again. And I will never join in any ridicule of the overseas tech support people. Granted, Amit could have solved my problem from inside the US of A, but he wasn't here. He was at a computer somewhere working for Dell. Most of yesterday, though, he was working for me.

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