Wednesday, February 6th 2013
As you can see from the coloured dateline above, my computer is back in working order. (I use the dateline only when posting from my computer.) I collected our machines this afternoon and, of course, paid an appropriate fee for the services rendered by the computer repair shop.
There was no virus found on either machine. Tigger was right and I was wrong in ascribing the faults to a pathogen. So what caused our computers to misbehave and be unable to connect to the Internet? The technician was cagey about that but claimed that the machines had been scanned for viruses and a few other matters attended to. In view of this vagueness, can we be sure that our machines are now in working order and the faults will not reappear. Actually, yes, we can, and for a reason that I will divulge in a moment.
I brought the computers home on the shopping trolley, connected mine to the power and external disc drives and waited for it to reboot. I had had a quick look at the machines running in the computer shop but it would need more than a quick look to convince me that all was in order. However, it seemed to be, and all the processes I tried worked as they should.
At this point I was interrupted by a message from Tigger. She was on the way home but was stopping off at Wasabi to buy a curry for our evening meal. We have this down to a fine art. Tigger lets me know when she’s at the shop and I then ready the rice and fill the kettle for tea. Tigger messages me again when she leaves the bus (a few yards down the road from us) and I switch on the kettle and put the rice in the microwave. As Tigger comes through the door with the curry, the rice and tea are ready.
It was only after our meal that I browsed the BBC news on my iPod and discovered what had caused our computer problems. It was not a virus, not a failure of our Internet connection, not a malfunction of our computers. In a word it was: Kaspersky. The news item, which you will find here, tells us that an update to the Kaspersky Internet Security firewall that we use, along with thousands of other people, contained a bug that prevented computers using the Windows XP operating system from accessing the Internet. Once the problem manifested itself, users would need a new update to correct the problem but, of course, they were unable to acquire this as they were prevented from going online.
Thanks Kaspersky, you have cost us £96 in computer repairs that we didn’t need to spend.
That still leaves a mystery, however. The technician gave no sign that he knew about the Kaspersky problem and yet he apparently ran our computers and connected them to the Internet. How was this possible if the Kaspersky update was blocking access? Once connected to the Internet in the shop, the Kaspersky firewall repaired itself with a corrected update – which is why everything is working again. But the question remains: how did our computers manage to update their firewalls when Kaspersky was preventing them from accessing the Internet? Or did the technician know about this, and perform a roll-back of the firewall database, allowing the update to occur? If he did, he gave no sign of it to me.
Perhaps I’d better not worry about that but simply be glad everything is back to normal. (Apart from the hole in my wallet where there used to be ninety-six pounds, of course…)