Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
It's no surprise to hear about malware coming from overseas... This is nothing new and certainly nothing newsworthy. As always, good internet safety is the cure for this sort of rumor.
My computer crashed last week. My computer tech said it was happening everywhere. I heard nothing on it. He got a letter from the government saying it was believed to be from Russia. How come I haven't heard anything on the news? He fixed my computer and said it was as safe as he could make it. He suggested I change my username. I tried, but Yahoo kept kicking me out. What should I do? I'm running the latest Windows XP.
In this excerpt from Answercast #10, I try to sort out the facts about a rumor of malware from Russia. Is this a spoof or a mistake?
I'm a little confused; or perhaps what I should say is that it sounds to me like your computer tech is a little confused.
Malware has been around for a long time. Malware coming from Russia is nothing new and certainly nothing newsworthy. It's happening all the time; people do get infected, unfortunately.
It's what keeps questions flowing to sites like Ask Leo! and it's what keeps data recovery services in business.
"He got a letter from the government" really makes me wonder. I don't know of any government sending out any letters having to deal with this.
I'd be really interested in seeing that letter. My guess is that either he got taken by someone who spoofed it or he's mistaking some other kind of letter for a letter from the government; potentially even a sales letter for some form of anti-malware tool.
So, the short answer is that you haven't heard anything on the news because it's not newsworthy. It's not news. It's commonplace. It does happen.
You do need to practice good internet safety. I would point you immediately at the article "Internet Safety: how do I keep my computer safe on the internet?" as the best starting place to make sure you've got everything covered to keep your machine safe.
I don't understand the changing username scenario either.
If you want to change a username on Yahoo, the only way to do that is to create a brand new Yahoo account with a new username and stop using your old one.
So, I'm fairly confused as to exactly what it was you were advised and why you were advised that; but I would point at my internet safety article as a great starting point to put into place the tools, the techniques, and the education to prevent this kind of thing from happening again in the future.
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