Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Virus crazyness ... more stupid users

I work in a very small IT team, which has its pro's and con's. The main pro is that I get to do different things all the time which stops the job from getting too boring. I have mates that work at much bigger companies in very large IT teams, for some of them it can mean more money but there is a downside, not only do they have to clock in/clock out, they also often have someone watching over their shoulders, scrutinizing their work. The biggest complaint I get from them though is that often they are pigeon holed into a role, each person has their place, so they get stuck doing the same kind of thing day in day out.

For me this is not a problem, one day I could be interstate helping relocate an office/setting up a new site, the next day I might be setting up some new domain controllers. I could jump from that to a meeting with Business Managers to see how technology can improve their processes and even deal with our suppliers (hardware, network, communications) to nut out the specifics of new service offerings. Sounds great doesn't it? Well, like I said, pro's and con's... The main (small IT department) con I face is that I unfortunately have to deal with the day to day stuff that at a much bigger company would be considered basic level 1 helpdesk. The kind of stuff that a university graduate, someone holding a diploma in network engineering and a fistful of certificates wouldn't normally be expected to do. Don't get me wrong, it's not just me, my boss is on the front line too, setting up user accounts, installing printers, configuring desktop software, a whole plethora of crap jobs ... including cleaning virus riddled PCs.

Recently we've had to deal with quite a bit of infected PC's and that is the focus of this post. Sometimes I try to get into the head of a user, I wonder (assuming I didn't know a lot about computers) what I would do if I had my virus scan pop up telling me my computer was infected. Would I just hit cancel/ignore and keep working away like it never happened? Or would I let the IT team know about it. I'd like to think the latter. In the last couple of weeks however, a trend has emerged that can be easily summed up by this small interaction i had with a user:

     User01 [12:25 PM]:
Hey ITG, Sorry to bug you, but just wasn't sure what the appropriate thing would be to do at the moment with this query - have a virus scan thing that keeps running on my computer which seems to be freezing things up a bit and every time i try and close it down it keeps popping back up? Wasn't sure if it was best for someone to have a quick look or something?

     The ITG [12:26 PM]:
ill give you one guess at what you should do (probably should have done the first time you saw it too) ;)

     User01 [12:27 PM]:
lol - logging an IT request

     The ITG [12:27 PM]:
how about that
go for it
thanks mate

     User01 [12:27 PM]:
no probs

This user proceeded to pop in an IT helpdesk request which explained that her computer had been telling her that it was infected with a virus for the last week or so. Unfortunately she isn't alone.

Some people also get a bit of an attitude towards IT when they have issues, here is a recent virus request that made me wish I had a device to stab people in the face over the internet:

Request Description: For the past week every time I log into my computer and at random intervals throughout the day I get a popup telling me that my computer has a virus, I click clean but it keeps coming back. Often this causes my computer to crash and i need to restart to get working again. This is very frustrating and not an ideal sitution [sic] at all as it is directly impacting on my work and causing me to fall behind in my billing. I would appreciate it if this could be fixed now!

When I called this user and explained she wouldn't have been having this issue for the past week if she lodged a request as soon as she first saw the popup, as expected she got her back up and started blaming everyone else for her stupidity. I understand a user clicking 'clean' or 'remove threat' and going back to their work but you'd assume (clearly I make assumptions way too often) that as soon as it comes back once, or worst case scenario a couple of times, they would let IT know as opposed to battling through it, sitting there, getting angrier and angrier at the issue for a full week!

I also had one user tell me that they needed a new computer as their old one had a virus that couldn't be cleaned and they were sending it back to me to be replaced. I tried to explain to them that a virus is software, and even if it cannot be cleaned I am able to back up all their data, blast the hard drive and reconfigure for them. She responded:

     No, That isn't the case here, my computer will no longer boot up so I know it has to be replaced.

For the record, I've since received this laptop, backed up the users data, blasted it and its sitting next to me being reconfigured as I type this.

There sure is enough of them working at my company so I hope you guys don't get sick of reading about stupid users, I sure don't get sick of writing about them!

Cheers, The ITG.

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