Monthly Archives: August 2003

Boring but essential (and how I found out the hard way)

Whilst an Internet business may at times seem like the ideal ‘job’, there are of course some boring bits. One of the things that I really dislike (and therefore don’t pay enough attention to) are the vital maintenance tasks that go with working online…

I have for some time been aware that my backup procedures are, to say the least, ‘relaxed’. Every couple of weeks (or sometimes longer), I make the effort to back all of my work up to a second hard drive – just in case. Last week, I decided that this really wasn’t regularly enough or indeed good enough (I do earn my entire income online, so if anything happens to my computer, I do have a problem!). Therefore I purchased a laptop to act as a backup computer. My plan was that in the event of something happening to my main PC, I could simply move over the laptop and carry on working without interruption.

Great plan. Unfortunately, my main computer decided to have a major hard drive failure about 10 minutes before I backed everything up to my new laptop (seriously, this actually happened!). I was amazed at the timing – how do computers know? Anyway, I lost about 3 weeks worth of work – emails, web page updates etc and all because I hadn’t bothered to spend the time putting a back up routine in place.

That was annoying enough, but read on to the second part of this newsletter to find out what happened on Monday of this week to make matters worse…

So what happened on Monday?

Whilst trying to resolve a networking issue between my PC and new laptop, I turned my Internet Firewall off for about 15 minutes – just long enough for the latest virus that is going around to enter and infect my computer. Now, the interesting thing about this virus is that it is not transmitted by email – you can get it just by being connected to the Internet without an active Firewall!

The virus, which is known as MSBlast or MSBlaster, only started circulating on Monday, so I guess I was one of the first to get it – lucky me! The virus basically causes your computer to shut down every couple of minutes, which is both irritating and also makes fixing things quite difficult.

Again, it just goes to show that even making a small error of judgement like turning your Firewall off for a few minutes is long enough for things to go wrong – another lesson logged!

Anyway, my reason for sharing the above with you is to illustrate how important it is to take care of the minor maintenance tasks that go with owning a computer – if you work online, it is even more vital.

If you don’t have a Firewall installed on your computer, you can download an excellent one for absolutely nothing from Zone Alarms – link below:

http://www.zonelabs.com

I hope that this newsletter prevents one or more of you suffering the same problems that I have in the last few days – both could have been avoided and in fairness, I should have known better.