Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Computer viruses and SecuRom make me have homicidal rage.

It's been a long time since I've had to deal with a computer virus. Last time it happened, it was bad. I lost quite a bit of writing, photos and other stuff. It made me sit on my bed in a fetal position for about an hour before I gathered myself enough to try and salvage what was salvageable.

Well, this Saturday I had the great fun of getting another one. I was lucky in two facets this time. I have my writing backed up on an external hard drive, my work computer and archived online. Had this bug been the extreme exploding kind, I wouldn't have lost much. And fortunately I have Erik around, who knows the inner workings of the computers.

Who do I blame? Evil people who make the viruses and a company called SecuRom. SecuRom is a company that the gaming industry uses to help prevent piracy. There's a lot of angry people out there, and rightfully so, regarding the use of this "copyright protection" method. I have a pretty up-to-date computer with a top of the line DVD-drive. Last week I ordered four games online, two of which came in the mail on Friday. When I went to load the first one up, no dice. I can't play it - a game from 2006 mind you - because of this copyright shit, even though I'm a paying customer with the original game DVD sitting in the $^%*ing drive. In the end, I resorted to downloading a program that tricks SecuRom just so I can play the game I paid for. Even though the site was a reliable one that many gamers use - Erik and I have used it for a number of different things, including game patches and mods - the file we selected to download was a Trojan virus. And a nasty one to boot.

We basically gave up after hours of trying. This bug crashes your computer if you search any virus software online or attempt to run any kind of virus removal program. Again, since I was lucky to have Erik and a second computer, he was able to research information about the bug. I backed up everything on my computer after loading it in safe mode, Erik tried one more thing. Amazingly, it worked. The bug is gone and I didn't have to wipe all my drives and reload the computer from the operating system (the ground) up.

I'm lucky. Did I mention that? I know my way around a computer and I wouldn't have been able to figure this one out. The average Joe would have been completely screwed and either lost their whole computer or certainly would have paid out the nose to get it rescued. I'm also fortunate I back up my files - albeit not as often as I should - and keep copies in other places. Regardless, I find nothing in the world as irrigating as this sort of thing. People who create things like this - viruses - solely to hurt other people disgust me.

Lesson of the day? Back up your writing and everything else you love that you keep on your computer - music, movies, photos, iTunes, game save files, etc. Secondly, boycott all companies that use SecuRom so you don't have to resort to skeevy websites JUST to MAYBE be able to PLAY the game YOU PAID FOR.

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