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The Computer Buzz March 19th, 2009

Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Fact


Computer Diseases

Computers can get sick just like people do. PC components, just like our own body parts, tend to become more susceptible to failure with age. If your hard drive goes down it's Alzheimer's to your PC.

The human heart pumps blood to feed every function in your body just as your PC's power supply feeds life giving electrical power through a network of copper veins and capillaries to every function in your PC. If the power supply stops, your PC flatlines.

The CPU combines with the RAM to mimic our brain, let them overheat and your PC will suffer "sunstroke" or dementia. The video system is the eyes, the motherboard the nervous system. It might be a stretch but your PC's DVD-R/W could even be considered a reproductive organ.

The operating system provides the cultural roots for your PC. It determines your PCs worldview, behavior and ethic. Corrupt you PCs operating system and you may wind up with a vegetable, an idiot savant, or even a psychopath.

While age increases the odds that a component will fail, like human organs a component can fail at any time regardless of age. Programs and operating systems tend to corrupt over time but a program also can suffer a fatal corruption at any time.

Unlike people, PCs can nearly always be fully restored by replacing the malfunctioning component or program. PCs also suffer from communicable diseases. Like us, they can make each other sick. It's called "malware." During cold and flu season a person may eat right, exercise, avoid crowds, take all the vitamin supplements and still come down with a rotten cold. Sure, healthy living can improve your chance of avoiding sickness but the only sure way to be absolutely safe from a communicable disease is to move into a bubble.

With your PC you can take every defensive measure to improve your chances of avoiding malware (unwanted Internet infections). You can overload your PC with V-scans, firewalls and anti-spyware programs and still get hit. The only sure way to avoid infection is to stay off the WWW completely.

No single anti-Virus program stops all viruses and no single anti-spyware removal program finds and removes all the spyware. A new anti-malware defense program must be developed each time a new malware program is discovered on the WWW. There's a lapse between the time a new malware program enters the WWW and the release of a defense by the makers of anti-malware programs. All PCs are vulnerable during this period. Hundreds of new malware programs are released every day.

Our customers often ask why authorities can't stop the malware creators. The answer is simple. Internet access is worldwide and laws and enforcement differ widely from nation to nation. Some countries are "safe havens" for Internet criminals.

"Malware" is a disease of your computer's mind and doesn't hurt the hardware. There are ways to insulate yourself, your data and your programs from the most severe impacts of malware. We will cover some of them in next week's column.





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