Friday, July 10, 2009

Late Night Virus

I was up late last night -- actually, it was more like way early this morning. I'd opened an .exe file and managed to infect my computer with a virus (my bad). More than one, it turns out. So, there I was, running Microsoft's malicious software program, MacAfee, Spybot, Windows Defender, and anything else just short of using a shovel. And if that had helped, I'd have headed to the barn for the biggest one I could find.

Throughout this whole process of reclaiming my computer my browser opened periodically, seemingly of its own accord, with porn pop-ups. That was disturbing but also enlightening. My guess is, hackers presume they can distract us with sex long enough for them to do their business.

Psychologically speaking, that's pretty smart. Instead of appealing to Freud's Super-Ego (the conscience) they target the Id (pleasure principle). There's probably not much to be gained by inserting pop-ups containing the sayings of Confucious. But the Id isn't so discriminating; it likes what feels good. Marketing hones in on the Id all the time. Consider the ads for Victoria's Secret -- need I say more?

I'm not trying to be moralistic here, all I'm saying is, hackers know what they're doing when they use sex. So, where does the Ego come in? The Ego evaluates information and determines a course of action. All this assumes, by the way, that we follow Freud and this morning, it seemed like a good literary device. Anyway, the ego notices what's on the screen, mutters an explicative at the "low-down, no good, dirty polecat" (as they say in Texas) who hacked into my computer, and then summarily pulls the internet access plug.

(Image via Wikipedia)
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