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NOVEMBER 2004
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My Computer Got Sick
By Annette C. Agnello

When I was new to having access to the Internet and e-mail, my computer caught a virus. According to the Oxford English dictionary a "computer virus is a piece of code surreptitiously introduced into a system in order to corrupt it or destroy data."

I was innocent and didn't think it could happen to me. After all, I didn't go to bad sites, nothing that wasn't wholesome or innocent – surely it would be okay. Besides, the software company that made my Bible software had a modestly priced anti-virus program. My oldest brother had given me my first Bible program long before I ever took the plunge into cyber-space.

I had talked to that same brother enough to know that I needed some kind of virus protection, so I ordered the one that came in the catalogue and installed it onto my computer.

It had always been a shock to discover how much trash always ended up in my mailbox. However, the greatest shock came when I received a series of angry letters accusing me of sending them some vile e-mail. I never saw the message that was sent, but I gathered from the comments that it was sexual in nature. I was incredibly embarrassed. Not only was I getting smutty mail, but now it was also being sent from my address.

This was not only embarrassing for me, but also for the Lord. You see I had been doing a personal study for some time on the names and titles of God. Then, as now, some form of God's name was included as part of my screen name. By stealing my e-mail address to send out smut, the "thieves" were sending it under the Lord's name.

I was told it was a Trojan virus, which is a password stealing virus. Even with the virus protection installed on my machine, I had made a few innocent mistakes which had opened the door for the Trojan to make itself at home:
  1. I had stored my password.
  2. My password was a single common word (a good password should be a collection of numbers and letters.)
  3. I hadn’t changed my password regularly (passwords should be changed from time to time.)
When choosing a password, it should (obviously) be something you can remember. I once got my password from a Concordance in Greek. That was fine, until there came a day when my computer was being repaired and I needed to sign in for them with my password. I couldn’t remember how to spell the word (as I didn’t have my Concordance with me at the time) and so had to call my internet provider and identify myself to their satisfaction. They gave me a new password and I liked it so much that I have used it off and on for the last six or seven years.

Viruses happen – we have to roll with the punches and be prepared for the possibility that we may lose some information. To protect yourself, make sure that you back up your files on floppies or some other form of removable medium. And above all, get a good program to protect your system from viruses, as much as possible.

"When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known." (1 Corinthians 13:11-12 NNAS)
Annette C. Agnello has been writing for 30 years She accepted the Lord in 1976. She is married to Mario G. Agnello for just over three years. They currently live in Windsor, VA


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