The 5 Stages of Grief – Malware Version

“A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequila.” Mitch Ratcliffe

noun: malware
software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems.
In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the 5 stages of grief, in her book On Death and Dying. The term “malware” had yet to be invented, but I think Ms. Kübler-Ross was a bit ahead of her time.
We clean a lot of infected machines at work. A LOT, and we’ve found her 5 stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, more often than not, are displayed by our “malware victim” customers.
Denial:  “I didn’t click on anything I shouldn’t have” or ” I only use my computer for email”.
Anger: “I told my grandkids to stay off my computer!” or “I opened a joke email from that bleeping <insert name of now ex-friend here>”.
Bargaining:  “Please put something on my computer to keep this from ever happening again” or “please tell that bleeping <insert name of now ex-friend here> to stop sending me those jokes”.
Depression: (always in a whiney voice) “I need my computer back today, I have to pay bills” or “ That bleeping <insert name of now ex-friend> was the only real friend I had”.   And finally…….
Acceptance: “Just fix the damn thing and call me when it’s ready”.
Now here’s where I get a tad smarmy.  An antivirus program, that will keep you 100% safe from malware, has not yet been invented. If and when it is, the inventor will become an overnight bazillionaire and within a week, some 14 year old kid will figure a way around it. And furthermore (always loved to say that), your problems with malware are almost always self induced. Yes. I said it. Your own fault.
When we’re finally able to get past the screen saying the FBI has shut you down for kiddie porn, but for a $300.00 money order they’ll forgive that heinous, federal offense, what will we find?  A browser so full of crappy toolbars that the actual website only displays 2 sentences unless you scroll? Or maybe 30 downloads of great, free software programs, all promising to speed up your computer, clean your registry and help you run faster & jump higher? And you may have been remiss in keeping your stuff updated as evident by the 179 important Microsoft updates we’ll install to get you up to date. And that antivirus software you have on your machine?. It was a 90 day trial that expired 2 years ago. But hey, good news. Remember that bleeping <insert name of now ex-friend here> who sent you the infected link? He/she now has quite a few less friends and an infected computer also.
Sadly, Ms. Kübler-Ross passed away in 2004. We really wish she would have added another stage:
Don’t Shoot the Messenger.

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