Because 2019 hasn’t managed to get its full pound of flesh from me yet, I had an unfortunate incident with my computer of all things, last night. As I’ve often written about before, we live in an age where technology is no longer a luxury; it has become a part of the average home’s daily life.
But with that technology comes a number of risks, including new forms of crime that affect its users. Computer viruses, malware and worms are very real issues that can cause problems such as damaging and destroying important or sentimental data, identity theft and more.
Before I go too far into telling my story, I should probably explain some of the terms I just used. Unless you’re a programmer or have studied in the field, some of these may be foreign to most people.
A computer virus is a type of malicious malware that replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code. These viruses can cause the corruption of data and files on your computer and can cause system failure.
Malware, specifically speaking, is a software that is intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer through its systems or network. Malware can be disguised as an executable file and will be introduced into your computer through those means and then take effect. Unless a virus, malware usually has a specific result in mind, which includes acting against the interest of the computer’s user.
Now that we have the terminology out of the way, on with the story…
As we’ve been busy, cleaning out old storage boxes and minimizing our belongings, my wife and I found three external hard drives that had been collecting dust. As my wife recalled, these drives contained movie downloads and music, as well as a number of television shows.
Since I use my MacBook the most, out of all my devices, I was ecstatic! I had just purchased a brand new external hard drive (2TB) and I was looking forward to combining the movies and TV shows that I wanted on it. I had already combined the movies I already had onto this new drive and a number of personal photos I had accumulated over the past ten years.
I worked diligently over the following few hours. Copying and filling the new hard drive, I would say it brought me into the late evening before I was finally all done. I was super excited and looking forward to watching some shows that were reasonably popular a decade ago, and this hard drive contained entire series of some shows!
Once I had all my copying done, I decided to access my new external hard drive and check it all out. I opened the folders and bought uo the TV shows so I could watch an episode.
BOOM! Nothing showed up. What the fu…?? This couldn’t be right. I had downloaded enough files to fill almost a third of the drive, it couldn’t be empty. Ran all the necessary checks… Yup, 2TB of free space! NOTHING was on my new hard drive. It had been wiped completely clean. The included installation software usually found on the hard drive wasn’t even there!
I ran an anti-virus program and sure as I shave my head, my system was infected. The result was that any external storage connected to my computer at the time was wiped clean. I was heart-broken. A lot of those files couldn’t be replaced. The anti-virus program was able to correct the issue and clean out the computer, but the damage had been done…
I guess the moral of the story… besides “don’t trust the mutual friend who downloaded the stuff for us”, is that in these modern times, we need to protect ourselves on the digital front on top of everything else. It’s been building for years, but technology has provided for a new frontier of crime. The worst part is that what happened to me doesn’t even provided any advantage to anyone; it simply disadvantages me!
As my wife conveniently reminded me, always make sure your important stuff is backed up. Run an anti-virus and always check the source of your downloads and data. As technology continues to progress, so will the problems attached to it.
There you have it! It isn’t quite my usual post, but it’s an important issue that a lot of people have to face in today’s world. The digital frontier holds all the same dangers as the real world; and many that are worse. ☯