Thursday, January 14, 2010

And it’s Beginning to Snow…*

The lack of blog post earlier today is not for having one unwritten – it’s for the fact I don’t want to INFECT anyone with whatever virus found me via the links I was researching on elevator pitches on the sales side (as opposed to the writing side.) NEXT Wednesday, y’all will have a revised – VIRUS FREE – blog post.

If you read blog posts, your obviously a writer on the Internet. (Yes, Captain Obvious – go on!)

This blog post is dedicated to helping you NOT lose an entire night’s sleep and, if you are like me and married the computer geek of the family, NOT waking your poor spouse/significant other just about in tears and making him/her lose an entire night’s sleep because s/he loves you dearly and supports your entirely ONLINE BUSINESS LIFE.

Hint 1: Use your trusted resources

Writers, you research online… that means you will likely – at some point, if you haven’t already – found information on websites of people you don’t personally know or that aren’t linked to places you know you can trust. Evil scary viruses that ruin your life CAN LIVE ANYWHERE! – but especially places you don’t know. When I do research, I will plan ahead for more and see if I can get email recommendations for places, first. (Speaking of which… *dashes off email one of the trusted people I linked to regarding sales pitches/elevator speeches for links on to-be revised article*)

Hint 2: Use recognized company, organization, or publication links for further investigation.

When I write for trade magazines, I can go to product or corporation home pages. They don’t want to be hit with malware, themselves, and they can afford to pay teams of people to keep their links safe. Larger organizations can sometimes do this too, and neither do any ‘zines or other publications. Links from here are more likely to be clean.

Hint 3: When your computer starts doing crazy sh*t, unplug!

This was my big lesson for the evening. As soon as my computer started doing crazy sh*t, I tried to go to my AVG and other safety nets. It prevented me from doing so and infected those. Finally, I went upstairs and woke up the Husband-of-Awesome, and we came back down and it had filled my screen with fake AVG alerts and crap. Had I unplugged it from the ‘Net (and turned off wireless) at the first sign of “crazy sh*t”, I could have avoided it downloading several hundred malware files.

Of course, there’s the general advice EVERYONE should follow (yet I still find people who don’t – You Know Who You Are!**): Keep all protective software up to date, run scans every month, back up every month… and so on. Fortunately, had this gone REALLY bad, I backed up just 2 weeks ago, so the majority of my files would be safe.

Super props to the Husband-of-Awesome for not only fixing these problems, but being very patient and not snapping at me for creating said problem and waking him up in the wee hours of morning. <3! His patience was at record-breaking highs.

So, dear writer and online friends, protect yourself! And if you have any tips you want to share – or suggestions – please do. We all can use the help in this scary electronic life we lead.

*Semi-random RENT reference; after said craptacular night/morning, I went outside to refill our indoor wood (because we burned the fire all night)… and it was flurrying. JUST what I needed to make my day even BETTER.

** Confession: If it wasn’t for the Husband-of-Awesome’s computer genius and patience, I’d be one of these people.


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