Posted by: kam6761 | July 5, 2008

Viruses

I promise a more detailed blog will come soon, but for the present I have a quick and pretty un-Namibia related topic to discuss—what’s the deal with computer viruses? And by this I mean, what in the world is wrong with the people who create them?

Recently, one of Dan’s colleagues, Sande, had the hard drive on his computer completely wrecked by a virus. Just this week, my principal asked me to find a file on his memory stick. He just recently purchased it and has yet to learn how to use it, so I agreed. Once I popped it into one of the school computers (which all recently had anti-virus software installed on them because [surprise!!] they all had viruses), the AVG software prompted me seven times with virus warnings. I decided to just take it out and see what Dan could find on it later, and lo and behold he found close to 50 different viruses on the memory stick. A two week old memory stick.

Anyway, this caused a lot of talk at my school and today at the ICDL class (International Computer Driver’s License), one of the teachers asked where viruses come from.  This was not the first time a teacher has asked this question, and the immediate follow up question (after answering that people create them), is: “WHY?” I have no other answer besides that people who create them must be incredibly wicked, immoral, and downright terrible.

Dan explained to a teacher that viruses mainly affect Windows computers, and then she asked why people would continue to buy Windows machines if they were more vulnerable than other machines. This got me thinking that she seemed to think that Windows computers were just inherently more inferior, but really it’s just that people create Windows viruses because it has the potential to destroy the most.

The worst part is that most people in affluent countries are computer literate enough to have some sort of automatically updating virus software on their computer, whereas people in developing countries (Namibia! Namibia!) are just starting to learn about computers and have enough trouble opening programs, let alone knowing about computer viruses and taking preventative measures.

I seriously wonder where someone so awful comes from, but also if they’ve ever taken the time to think of the full consequences of their actions. I would be willing to bet that the people suffering the most are the uneducated users of computers, many who are in poor countries like Namibia where computers are scarce and precious, but unfortunately completely vulnerable to computer viruses.

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Responses

  1. Kathryn,
    Unfortunately, some people do it as “pranks” not thinking that it is really harmful. Others, sad to say, are really malicious. It’s a strange kind of computer-savvy-but-warped mind, I think. Partly there’s an intellectual challenge to doing something that can get past the virus prevention programs, kind of a testing of boundaries. Others may be messed up and frustrated with the world and just see this is a way to get back “the world.” But I’m not a social psychologist and I’m sure there are lots of explanations besides these. Anyway, I’m glad that you and Dan are there and can provide some degree of education that, I hope, they can apply to protect themselves better in the future.

    Love,

    Dad Tao

  2. Kathryn:

    This is a great opportunity for you and Dan to send one of your blogs to Bill and Melinda Gates. There is a marvelous irony here that will not be lost on them. The Gates Foundation is helping Africa, particularly S. Africa/Namibia, in some of the most profound ways when it comes to researching, treating and hopefully, eradicating life-threatening viruses.

    They would be incredibly touched to know that you two are in a small village with Harvard’s World Teach fighting the “amazing good fight” trying to help educate this most needy population, and with Windows technology, no less…only to have the world’s best infiltrators make a mess of your best efforts!

    Now that he has announced his retirement as CEO, you have given him a fabulous new opportunity to take on a new project…I suggest you invite Bill Gates, Jr. and Melinda to your village and ask them to make it the FIRST truly virus-free environment.

    Aim High.
    Think Big.
    Dare to Dream the Impossible.
    Don’t Give Up!

    The World is depending upon those who feel this same way..but more important, who also act on it!

    : – ) Hugs and heaps of love, Aunt E.


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