A Word to the Wise Librarian

Things are someplace between late and never today. While not one to place blame on the tools of the trade, my PC at work was laid low by the RBot-I virus (I think), which worked its way through our branch of the internet this morning. Sophos caught it, but not before this thing had crawled deep into my hard drive, infected 10 different files, and froze my CPU almost solid.

Part of the problem (our very capable IT folks told me) was that the macro that usually updated my Windows 2K service packs had been shut off for some unknown (and, damn it, unknowable) reason, so the security upgrade I should have gotten last week never arrived. Which meant—in that cascading way that PC networks tend to follow—that the one hole in my security was exactly the one that the cretin who sent this bomblet my way was hoping to exploit. I’m not suggesting this jerk had me specifically in mind . . . mine was the only PC in the Technical Resources department to get swiped, but one in Access and two in the Rare Book Room got hit as well.

Anyway, Sophos lit a red flag at around 9.30 this morning, and work on the machine started shortly after. By that time my machine was badly infected and any work that had to be done on it (substantial to say the least) took several times as long as it might have on an uninfected PC. By ten o’clock it was clear that the security updates hadn’t arrived as expected . . . the IT guys I spoke to finally decided to delete the previous service packs and reinstall the newest one. The entire process of deleting the old files, downloading the upgrade, and installing the new files lasted until well after one in the bloody afternoon. (Say goodbye to the morning, Gracie.)

At half past one or so, I restarted the machine and it worked well enough. Then the IT guys logged into my PC by remote control and set Sophos scanning the hell out of my local hard drive, which took until just before four o’clock, whereupon 10 infected files were identified and killed. By that time, I’d passed up any opportunity for real work here . . . although I did have the chance to update about ten volumes of the New York City Rules & regulations: unlike 90% of what I do on a daily basis, like cataloging, serials management, or database management, replacing pages of the NYCRR takes only patience, attention to detail, and a bunch of trips into the stacks.

A word to the Wise Librarian . . . make sure your system service packs and virus definitions update regularly and on schedule.

And yes, this is why I haven’t updatted anything of worth today. But the weekend approacheth and with it, some free time. Tomorrow, Civil Liberties for sure . . .

About Jon Frater

A gaming industry stalwart dating back to the 1980s, Jonathan Frater is the co-author of roleplaying game books Robotech: Return of the Masters, and Robotech Adventures: Lancer's Rockers, both for Palladium Books. Jonathan also wrote a column on writing and game design called The Tome in Gateways magazine. He's currently a librarian at Metropolitan College of New York. Article 9, the first in his ambitious Blockade Trilogy, is Jonathan's first full-length novel.

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