Friday, a week ago, I got what I think was my first-ever malware infection in 25 years of using computers.
I was using my Windows laptop. I had run Internet Explorer ONCE in order to check compatibility of one of my HTML5 game programming demos. I don't know whether IE was how it got in or whether it was through a Java security hole or what, but the timing was suspicious.
It was something called "Windows 7 Total Security" which is the same thing, just with a different name, as what my mom got -- malware that pretends to be an antivirus program, bombards you with spurious warnings about hundreds of imaginary viruses, and tries to get you to pay money to get rid of them. My version was somewhat worse in that it wouldn't let me go to any websites at all - every site got replaced with a bogus security warning.
I used Panda Cloud antivirus (goddam it people, stop calling everything "cloud", it's lost all meaning. At this point as far as I can tell "cloud" is a synonym for "internet".) Despite the stupid name, it worked.
Or did it? I was left unable to run any programs, because when I double-clicked an .EXE file it asked what program I wanted to use to open that file. The registry had gotten corrupted so that the file-type association for "EXE" was broken -- and I couldn't even run regedit.exe to fix it. I couldn't launch things from the command line even, because that's "cmd.exe". I finally found a website describing this problem and downloaded a sketchy batch file that successfully fixed everything.
Not sure if there's a larger lesson to draw from all this, other than that bad people who write viruses suck and should go to jail.