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Night of the PC Zombie!

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 09, 2007

Raise the Hammer has been pwned! I discovered tonight that my PC was a zombie.

A zombie, in computer terminology, is a computer that has been infected with a virus that generates spam emails and sends them without the hapless computer owner knowing. Tonight, I was that hapless computer owner. (And yes, I fully expect to hear plenty of sanctimonious tut-tutting from RTH contributor Jason Leach, who prides himself on his comparatively virus-resistant Mac.)

I noticed something amiss as I prepared Wednesday's RTH issue for publication. Always the savvy crunch-head, I started to suspect something was going on when I found over 2,000 failed delivery notifications in my inbox.

After some frantic investigation, I realized a misconfigured antivirus program had allowed a virus to sneak onto my computer and spew out a torrent of spam emails from randomly generated accounts. Those emails that were caught by remote anti-spam programs bounced back into my main RTH inbox, alerting me to the problem.

I've reconfigured my antivirus program, updated the virus definitions, and finally found and cleaned the viruses on my computer. To anyone whose inbox was burdened by crap inadvertently sent from my machine, I offer my sincerest regrets and the promise that I'll remain vigilant about keeping my PC clean.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By jimbob (registered) | Posted January 10, 2007 at 08:28:40

So this erection cream you e-mailed me about doesn't work?

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By Vic (anonymous) | Posted June 18, 2008 at 12:36:03

Macs aren't virus-resistant. They're just not important or interesting enough for hackers to waste their time screwing with.

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