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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

An Open Letter to Computer Virus Creators

Dear Computer Virus Creator

I’m one of your countless, nameless, faceless victims.  To PC users a computer virus is about as unavoidable as death, taxes, and spam.  Even the most tech and internet savvy computer users (which I’m not) can fall prey your to dastardly deeds.  I was fooled by a very realistic-looking link when I tried to upgrade software.  Right away I knew I’d done something wrong because my computer froze up.  A manual reboot led to obvious conclusion: virus.

Right now, you’re probably chuckling to yourself like some kind of villain from a Batman movie.  I imagine you look like the garden-variety American computer geek, but you may actually be from anywhere in the world.  In that case, you may not have much sympathy for a white, college-educated American male.  Whoever you are, you’re about to get to know who I am.

The first sign something was wrong after I rebooted my computer was when Zoomtext, the magnifier program I use, didn’t open.  Visually-impaired people like me have to use a program to enlarge what’s on the screen.  I also use it to reduce glare by reversing colors on documents, so I’m looking at white letters on a black background.  Black and white.  Right and wrong.  Some of us know the difference.

It may not matter to you that one of your victims is legally blind, so it may not matter to you that I don’t drive, either.  I’m fortunate enough to live in a town with taxi cab service.  It isn’t cheap, but I’m lucky to have it.  I’m also lucky my computer guru wasn’t busy.  He even gave me a discount to clean up your mess because I’m a regular customer.  Yes, Mean-spirited Technically-gifted Loser, you’ve plagued me before.

After riding the taxi back home, I kept busy doing other things and tried not to think about lost productivity.  I’m nearing completion of my memoir, in which I talk about several health issues I’ve had to overcome in my life.  Being a single, middle-aged legally blind guy with a couple of transplanted organs isn’t easy.  I really don’t need you complicating my life further.

A kind soul gave me a ride to pick up my computer when it was fixed and also hooked it back up for me.  That saved me from having to feel the back of the PC tower to make sure I inserted the connections properly.  It would have taken me five times as long as it took him and I probably would have ended up with a headache. 

Score one for Jim!

Ah, but you did a thorough job, Mr. Egotistical Socially Unskilled 40 Year-old Virgin.  The virus you made was in there so deep I had to take it back for a full strip-down of my hard drive.  My computer guru removed everything this time, including your masterpiece of computer treachery.  When I picked it up the next day, I had to reinstall software.  Luckily, someone was able to hook up my computer this time and load Zoomtext on there again. 

Score TWO MORE for Jim!

The rest of us can only wonder what motivates you to wreak havoc on our lives like you do.  Are you angry at the world because in high school the cool kids shunned you due to your colossal geekiness?  Is your ego so inflated and your imagination so limited that this is the only thing you can think of to leave your mark on the world?  Do you work for an anti-virus software company desperately trying to create demand for its products?  Does creating computer viruses somehow make your penis larger?

I’d like to think this will make you feel guilty, but it won’t.  I’d love for the rest of us to sniff you out like bloodhounds, surround your sparsely-furnished little apartment, drag you out in the street in the underwear and dirty T-shirt you wear all day while sitting at your computer, and take turns pummeling you with our permanently infected laptops until you beg for mercy, cry like a little girl, and slink away to the safety of the nearest ditch or trash dumpster, but we won’t.

So, Sleazy Misguided Self-delusional Creep, I would like to close by letting your know that you were successful at causing me stress, raising  my blood pressure, delaying my progress, and costing me a small wad of cash.  But I don’t need to use my skills and education to unleash misery on the computer-using public in order to feel better about myself.  And that, in spite of my limited eyesight and tech know-how, means I win.  Until you serve up some kind of Y2K type of worldwide computer mayhem that leads rational people to hoard canned food, beef jerky, and ammo, you not only earn my disgust, by my pity as well—because you are as insignificant as a nanoparticle in the computer chip of an ameba’s tiny flash drive.



  1. Hi Jim,
    Well-written rant to which many will be able to relate. I've also pondered what motivates these assholes to cause so much grief for people who haven't done anything to them. I have read that some virus creators are the same people who advertise they can fix your problem. Of course they can. They created it. Glad you're up and running again. Ron

    1. Thanks, Ron. As you can see, I'm fiesty as ever.

  2. Hi Jim,

    Sorry to hear about your trouble with the virus. About all that I can think to suggest is that you consider running a "live" operating system--one that runs from a CD or DVD and hence can be easily reloaded in case of infection.

    The oldest of the Linux-based live distributions is Knoppix, by Klaus Knopper. I don't know about live distributions other than Linux ones, but they may exist.

    Knoppix - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    There's a version designed for users with visual impairments:

    "Adriane Knoppix is a variation that is intended for blind and visually impaired people, which can be used entirely without vision oriented output devices."


  3. I, too, have had this happen even when I did have software protection virus. I suspect there MUST be some sort of monetary incentive--virus that allows access to bank accounts, sensitive information, or something. If I wrote the computer hacker character in fiction he'd need to have some other "extra" motivation other than meanness or prank to be believable...but real life isn't like a fiction book so he may indeed just be a witless sod.

    May your computer remain bug-free in the future!

    1. Thanks, Amy. Aside from having to uninstall Adobe 10 (it was cuasing a weird error message to pop up)it's been smooth sailing. I had virus protection, too, but they're always inventing new ones. If your fictional character was insane, he wouldn't need any financial incentive.

  4. That's telling them! Thanks for venting some of that frustration for the rest of us. Let's hope that we as a nation do not become victims of a huge cyber attack. Glad your're over the virus and ready to tie up that memoir!

    1. Thanks Kim. Maybe I need to rant more often.

  5. Good writing, Jim! Kudos for hanging in there & doing what writers do--writing out that frustration.

    1. Thanks Janet. My latest post is passionate but less of a rant :)