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Spanish Secrets: Cyber Safari

Craig Briggs goes on a cyber safari into the depths of the electronic jungle to track down and kill a virus.

Our second week’s attendance at the council-organised Spanish lessons brought an unexpected surprise. Without warning a TV cameraman clumsily stumbled through the classroom door. My mental concentration on the complexities of Spanish grammar was shattered.

Following on from last week’s newspaper article, the local TV station had decided to run its own feature on “The Spanish Language Class”.

To our great relief, within minutes of his arrival he was departing. The heavy shoulder-supported camera almost crashed to the floor as he made his awkward exit.

We were reliably informed by another class member that Channel 7 used the footage. Fortunately we didn’t see the clip. Our move to Spain coincided with our decision not to own a television.

Our choice of information and entertainment is the radio. Not a large polished mahogany cabinet nestling in the corner, or a black bakelite model with large round dials. On long cold winter nights Melanie and I huddle round my laptop computer, digitally streaming radio programmes from the BBC.

Earlier in the week I tested a piece of financial advice gleaned from one such informative radio programme. My test was prompted by the arrival of our annual renewal notice for the car insurance.

After countless hours of investigative internet searching I obtained a much cheaper quote from a rival insurance company. The advice given on the radio programme was to use this quotation to secure an even better one from your existing insurer. The outcome of my efforts was a twenty five percent saving.

All I had to do to obtain this reduction was fax them a copy of the competitor’s quote. My attempts to fax the quote through my computer proved fruitless. However; they accepted an e-mailed copy and the lower insurance premium was approved.

My frustration at being unable to fax the quote led me to download a new fax machine off the internet. At least that’s what I thought I was downloading. It turned out to be a virus! A worm! A Trojan! Call it what you like, it was an unwanted rodent that needed detecting and exterminating.

The hunt began. Using tools with such emotive names as,“Search and Destroy, Anti-Virus, and, Registry Mechanic, my search began. By the end of the first day I had successfully removed it. By the start of the second day it had successfully reincarnated itself. This was not going to be as simple as I’d first thought.

By the end of the second day I had a name for my tormenter, win32trojan alias worm_spybot.cb. The creator of this clever little bugger was someone called Bigsoft. I almost felt sorry for it. Almost! By the end of the third day I had it cornered. All I had to do was pull the trigger.

My cyber safari through the innermost depths of this electronic jungle had taken me into an unfamiliar landscape. If I pulled the trigger and missed, I might do irreversible damage in this strange environment? I paused, finger on the trigger.

My search had been undertaken with confidence and gusto, but now this confidence was draining from me like bath water down the plughole. It was time to employ the services of a professional assassin.

Like me, his first shot only succeeded in killing the beast’s shadow. It wasn’t long before we once again had it trapped and cornered with no means of escape. Without hesitation he took aim. With a gentle squeeze of the trigger the beast was blasted into oblivion.

Employing the services of a professional assassin has eaten into my insurance windfall. I very much doubt I’ll be as squeamish on my next cyber safari.

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Copyright © 2006 Craig Briggs


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