Off Track

I’ve been no account. Managed to blog four of the five days we were gone, but not to write on my current novel. I will not make my original camp goal of 50,000 words and didn’t change goal in time. It has been a challenging month, so I’ve decided to grant myself grace if I reach 30,000 words. Not a winner by Camp standards, but pretty good for me.

Came home and first thing I clicked was a Bible reference page. I had clicked on one of those info-ad things about the super food that can prevent Diabetes. It said the food was in the Bible and gave the page and of course I started a quick internet search. Bingo, it  locked a virus on my computer. I knew it the instant it said dial this number to reach Microsoft support. Checked, and sure enough it was the wrong number and one of the warning flags for a virus.

Took about four hours and two experts at Microsoft Windows to get my computer all cleaned up, then they told me I would need to delete and upload my books again. It was the back-up drive that ended up corrupted. My heart stopped. I used to print off a book every ten pages as I wrote it. Now, I just wait to the end when I’m finished with automated editing and ready to do a read through  and last edit before sending it to Beta readers.

I told the poor phone kid (sounded like an Indian, did not ask this time but they always are overseas) that I needed to get off, and cry awhile. He transferred me to Microsoft Word and the young man there helped me erase, reformat my backup drive, and download uncorrupted files to the clean drive. So I don’t have to retype the thousands of pages I’ve churned out since retirement. No tears – but no new words either. Maybe, God Bless those who help, and that weird Cloud up there, and special curses on those people planting viruses everywhere to sell their online protection programs.

Have not written today – trying to clear my 500 + emails, unsubscribing from lists as I go. Last night made only 1500 words, and no blog. As I said, I’ve been no account and no good.



Sick Computers

My first helper was a young woman and she sent me this list of guidelines to protect my computer – sharing them with you. The list numbering was already off, and sorry, but I’m too off to format it.

To help protect your PC from future virus attacks, follow these steps regularly:

  1. Defend your computer.
    • Keep your software current with automatic updates.
    • Make sure that your firewall and antivirus software are always turned on.
    • Protect your home wireless connection with a password: Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista.
  1. Protect your personal and financial information.
    • Be careful when you share personal information online. Be aware of the information you share in your profiles and other public forums.
    • Look for signs that a website is safe before you enter sensitive data: web addresses with https (“s” is for secure) and a closed-padlock symbol beside them. Don’t provide sensitive data in emails or instant messages unless you fully trust the recipients. See more information on protecting your privacy.
  1. Think before you click. Don’t be tricked into downloading malware.
  • Only download software from websites you trust. Be cautious about “free” music, games and videos. They’re notorious for including malware.
    • Beware of fake virus alerts. Fake security software, also known as “scareware”, often poses as real software but generates misleading alerts to lure users into participating in fraudulent transactions. See more information on how to help protect yourself from rogue security software.
    • Stop and think before you open suspicious attachments or links in an email or IM. Make sure the message is authentic. Contact the supposed sender or visit the linked websites directly by typing the addresses yourself. Avoid clicking links or buttons in unsolicited pop-up windows.
  1. Create strong passwords and keep them secret.
    • Make passwords at least eight characters long and include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password everywhere.
  1. Protect yourself from email and phone scams.
    • Look out for alarmist messages, misspellings and grammatical errors, deals that sound too good to be true, and requests for sensitive information like account numbers. Turn on a filter like the SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer, which warns you about suspicious web sites.
    • Cybercriminals might call you on the phone and claim to be from Microsoft. Be very cautious if you get a call like this. Microsoft and our partners don’t make unsolicited phone calls to charge you for any computer security or software fixes. Never hand over control of your computer to a third-party unless you’re sure the request is from a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you’re already a customer.
  1. Practise safer social networking.
    • Look for privacy settings or options in services like Facebook and Twitter. Manage who can see your profile, control how people can search for you and make comments, and learn how to block unwanted access. Don’t post anything you’d say only to a close friend. Be selective about accepting friends. Periodically reassess who has access to your information and review what friends write about you.
  1. Take extra steps to keep children safe online.
  1. Be vigilant when using public computers or Wi-Fi networks.
    • Avoid sensitive transactions or sharing private information in public unless you’re sure the system is secure.
  1. Keep up with the latest information.

Find even more information on this topic by visiting the Microsoft Virus and Security Solution Centre



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