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Alex to the Rescue

Twenty years, ago I first met Alex Eckelberry. At the time, I was the editor in chief of Amiga World magazine and Alex worked for Aegis Development, which sold high-end 3-D modeling and animation software. After launching Redmond magazine, I became reacquainted with Alex, who is now CEO of Sunbelt Software. Alex is a smart guy, a successful businessman -- and now an American hero.

Sunbelt is an expert in all things malware and understands that things aren't always as they seem. That was the case with substitute teacher Julie Amero.

Here's what went down, according to an article and a report from "Good Morning America." It seems that Amero checked her e-mail on a public computer at the school before class. Like so many of us have experienced, Amero was hit with bogus pop-ups and the machine was quickly infested with spyware. But Amero wasn't around to witness the destruction or the racy images that flew across the screen. Unfortunately, a couple of her students were.

After realizing that her students were enjoying the show, Amero tried to stop it. But like kids in an unruly classroom, the pop-ups popped up faster than they could be shut down. The immediate conclusion of the authorities was that Amero must have been cruising for porn, even though women are far less attracted to this form of entertainment than their male counterparts.

Days later the teacher was arrested for harming minors. The maximum time in the pokey? An astounding 40 years! The verdict? Guilty.

A similar thing happened to my son's computer when pop-ups carrying filth multiplied like bunnies. If I was a teacher, I may have been facing jail time, too.

Fortunately, experts like Eckelberry know that porn can take over a computer without our willing participation, and he decided to help. Eckelberry and other experts proved that Amero did nothing wrong and that malware was to blame for the entire episode. Now, that's a hero!

Posted by Doug Barney on February 06, 2009 at 11:53 AM