A potential nightmare scenario has, I hope, been partially averted. A virus – to be more precise, a Trojan – somehow found its way into one of my machines. The Trojan itself wasn’t the problem, though, it was the incessant pop-up alert windows from TrendMicro OfficeScan. Popping sometimes more than once a second, they made work impossible. To make matters worse, the Trojan was associated with a .dll file which could not be deleted from my machine – necessitating a complete rebuild!
Due to a mix-up over whether the machine’s files were backed-up, the hard drive was effectively wiped clean, potentially erasing more than five years of work! At one point yesterday afternoon, I began to despair, lapsing into a stunned silence interupted only by angry expletives….
As it is, I still have the laptop which was my work-horse until about February this year. Combine this with all the files sent and received via email, and I reckon that I will be able to re-compile around 99% of my archive of work. OK, the occasional nugget may be lost forever, but I have learnt a painful but valuable lesson: keep at least two complete back-ups of your data.
This experience is – sadly – not unusual among regular computer users; one of my former BIW colleagues – now at Gleeds – knows a contractor whose email system collapsed after a virus attack and was out of action for several working days.
As far as that contractor’s inputs to the Gleeds project was concerned, though, there was no impact. The project was using the web-based BIW Information Channel collaboration platform, completely bypassing any reliance on email, so there was no impact on that project. The same, however, could not be said for other projects on which the unfortunate contractor was involved. On them, email had been a principle conduit for many project communications. Records of past data exchanges were lost, and new communications now had to be faxed, posted or couriered.