Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Butterfly Strumpet

For those who don't know me, I work for a large non-profit that has ministries in a variety of areas. Suffice it to say, our campus computer users range from the misinformed to the tech savy. The latter does not usually apply to the residents of said organization who are, shall we say, a bit removed from the world due to the lifelong values they uphold. Yes, I think that's vague enough... :-)

Late last week we had a frantic e-mail from the lady who runs the Residence that her computer would not let her onto the Internet--it kept booting up to a pornographic website. I stopped by, changed her home page, and explained that somewhere along the way, she had probably clicked on something that had changed the page to that. No worries, though, it was an easy fix.

Over the weekend, however, there was another note from her that the Front Desk computer was infected. Suspecting it was the same issue as before, I made a point to swing by there first thing Monday morning. The receptionist had not yet arrived so I was greeted by Resident #1 who said the Internet was not working.

"Well, I think it is. I think someone just accidentally changed their home page to an innapropriate site. Do you know who it was that noticed the problem?" I logged in and pulled up the Internet; Google's website flashed into place. I nodded to myself--it was not computer-wide, it was just that one user.

"Well, I don't know. I'll page." She sent out two pages over the intercom and received no reply.

I began sifting through user accounts on the computer, looking for anything unusual. I logged into the computer as one common user and found that the home page took a long time to load--this was probably the user. I quickly closed the program as Resident #2 entered. "The computer has a virus," she informed me.

"No, no. Not really. Someone just clicked on something that changed their home page to a pornographic site." I clicked a few more times in Internet Explorer's tools, and changed the home page to something they were more likely to use.

"Well, can you check mine?" Resident #2 asked.

"Are you getting an inappropriate site? Do you see pornography?"

She adjusted her glasses, "What's pornography?"

I chuckled. "Well, um, you'd know it if you saw it." She gave me her credentials and I logged into the computer as her. A few mouse clicks and I had opened up Internet Explorer to a familiar blue website with a butterfly logo. "You've got MSN."

"Is that pornography?"