Monthly Archives: July 2013

Madam, Your Computer has a Virus

Someday you may be minding your own business when out of the blue a phone call comes to you. This phone call will be from a very insistent person saying that you’re computer is causing problems to other computers.  That they have detected a virus on your computer and that your computer is infecting their and any other computer it might contact.  This is enough to make even the steadiest person nervous.  They then cap it off with informing you that they are ringing from Microsoft.

In the world of computers where people are uncertain as to who has access to what and where the lines of rumour and fact are often blurred.  A call from Microsoft can be akin to a personal message from the Revenue Commissioners, it automatically sets off alarm bells in the user’s head.

Once you have been unsteadied, they are ready.  They have the solution, I quote” just do as we say, and the problem will be solved”.  A note of caution might still be ringing in the users head, but they are ready for this.  They will ensure you that your computer is causing a very large problem and that they are the only ones who can fix it.

If you still are showing doubt, they will ask you to enter certain commands on your computer .  Which will bring you to a black command screen, a scary place for a lot of people.  When the command  screen is opened, they will ask you to type in the following letters assoc and read out the numbers on the screen, or if you are unwilling to do so they will tell you what the numbers on the computer screen are.   You will find that they already know what the numbers will be.  But the user is uncertain and they take a very authoritarian line.


After they proved to the user, beyond reasonable doubt, that they know more than you and that they know your computer has a virus.  Then they tell you that their technicians will solve the problem for you.  They request you to log onto a website and give their technicians access to your computer.

If you proceed to this point and give them access to your computer it is at this point that they are then free to place a Botnet or other malware on your computer.  They cannot get access to your computer unless you give it to them.


HIP HIP Hooray

One of the primary aims of speaking with another person is to communicate. There are many signals and tones that we use to identify a safe person to talk to. We hope that when we speak with someone that we will be understood.  It is highly unlikely that we would have a prolonged conversation with someone we had never met who did not speak our language.  From the time we are children we are constantly learning from the adults around us, how to communicate.

The term ICT is often used to describe computer technologies.  IT stands for Information technology,  Information Technologies are the devices that we use such as a computer, pad or smart phone.  The C in ICT stands for communication technologies.  For a device to download or to upload information  it uses Communication technologies, Communication technologies are pieces of equipment such as a routers and modem and Communication protocols.

When your device connects to the Internet it is communicating with another computer.  To do this it needs to use a protocol.  This protocol must be known by both computers.  The first thing they do is perform a handshake, if the handshake is successful. Then the devices can start to communicate.  The protocol that is used between two devices on the Internet is TCP/IP ( Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol).

In face to face communication we can see the person so there is no doubt to whom one is speaking. In written communication, a postal address is used.  Telephone calls are made to a telephone number. A computer on the other hand uses an IP address to identify where a communication is coming from and where a download is going to be sent.

An IP address is, is a set of four numbers separated by full stops.  e.g.  Each time you go onto the Internet you start a session and you are given an IP address for that session.  The next time, you will be given a different one.  Some businesses, particularly Internet Hosting Companies pay for fixed IP, giving them a set IP address.

If you wish to know what is your IP address p will display your IP address, for your present Internet session.  This could bring a new meaning to the well used cheer. Hip- Hip Hooray, Have IP, Have IP Hooray.