Is is Reasonable to Expect People to Know How to Keep Their Computers Secure? 10 replies

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marvinmatthew

Tech is where you'll find me..

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#1 10 years ago

All of us here in the tech section of GF often take it for granted that we know what we're doing when it comes to the security of our computers (using a firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware, running Windows Updates).

But the good majority of people out there don't know how to properly shield themselves from viruses. These are the people who get three free months of Norton AV on their computer, and then never renew their subscription. These are people we know. Hell, without my help, my parents computer would be a mess.

And it's becoming more and more of a problem these days that peoples machines are getting infected with spyware, and are becoming members of massive bot nets that are wreaking havoc on the web (generally in the form of sending lots of spam and denial of service (DoS) attacks).

Should the individual computer owners be responsible for keeping their systems safe and spy-ware free? Or should the OS manufacturer's (namely Microsoft) be responsible? Or should the government even intervene in this situation?




NoOdLe

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#2 10 years ago

Well this is an interesting subject. My gut reactions is to say that people should be able to protect their own computer. In a perfect world if a user does not know how to use something, then they should not be able to have it. You could draw parallels to vehicles and even to an extreme, guns.

However we do not live in a perfect world. The fact is that people do not think outside of their own little reality. They want a computer because the Jones' have one, or they saw one on TV that looked neat. They get it, have no idea what they are doing, and worse yet have no idea that they are doing anything wrong. This wasn't an issue before the days of always-on internet. Its hard to have a Bot-Net when you have to dial in...

There is not perfect solution, and in my opinion, no answer to your poll. The fact is that a combination of things will help:

-Time: to most people, a computer and internet are new. It doesn't seem like that to us, but to someone else a computer is like a toaster. They can only grasp what they can see, and if they are not doing anything on the computer, then its not doing anything at all. Fortunately these people will be forced to learn or die off. I know this sounds a bit harsh but its the truth, computers are becoming more involved in every aspect of our life. If you refuse to embrace computers, you will lack the skill sets to even flip burgers. Eventually our generation who grew up with computers will be the most prevalent and this issue will get better.

-OS Improvements and Updates: I agree that the OS makers have a responsibility to provide adequate and on-going security. From their perspective, they may have broken off more than they expected, but unfortunately the responsibility is theirs to handle. (its not like they don't have the time/money)

-Easily available support: We need to make a personal and comprehensive level of support available to everyone. It is OUR responsibility to help and teach people who do not have the luxury of our knowledge. This should go for everything we do be it is even more important with computers.

I work IT for a large company and deal with people who have done the same job for the past 30 years. It gets frustrating at their lack of ability when it comes to even checking their email, and their downright refusal to learn how to do it. But I have to think in their shoes, they have a way of doing their job. Its been that way for years, and they are almost retired. They have no incentive to change. Sorry, i got a little windy their. Summary: Short Term: it is up to those who can to help those who cannot. Long Term: Those who can will outlive those who cannot.




Jeff Über Admin

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#3 10 years ago

I think this is more of a double-edged sword. Operating System developers should be making a secure operating system that protects the users from such attacks and infections from systems. However, as history has forever taught us, we can never make something perfect. Like the tip of that sword, the intersection between the OS Developers and the Users knowledge of computers and how to protect themselves is made. While an OS should be made secure, the longer you use it, generally the less secure you will be. It comes to the everyday user to pick up where the OS Developer left off in preventing such attacks with diagnostic checks and not being careless with suspicious sites or sites you've never been to or heard of before. While more often then not users are confused by the different types of protection out there. For those that have no idea about them and only use the computer to check email and surf the web, it's probably all greek to them. A car and a gun were given as examples. There comes a point where you need how to learn how to use both of those as well, not just depend that it will work all the time. Guns need to be routinely cleaned, cars need checkups. Computers are no different and require attention and require some level of learning for all of those who intend on using them.


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*The.Doctor

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#4 10 years ago

Yes, i think its completely reasonable for people to be able to maintian there own computers.

Its not rocket science, all it takes is a little time, and some research. Most people just expect there computers to always "work", they need to realize that they need regular maintence too.




marvinmatthew

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#5 10 years ago

I would have to agree that I don't think that it's overly difficult to learn how to keep your PC safe.

-A Router (or firewall of some kind) -An Anti-Virus -An Anti-Spyware

That doesn't seem too unreasonable.

Is it fair that people should have to shell out more money (for the products mentioned above) for a computer they have already paid for? This is a problem that I run into when helping a friend with a spyware infested PC. If they have an internet connection, I always recomend a router as the best possible form of protection. But I get a lot of resistance. Like, "But I've already spent $1100 on this thing, you mean I have to spend more?"




>Omen<

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#6 10 years ago

Well I think too much control is asking for the AOL type promise of let us fix your PC with one click, just don't mind all that "good" spam that's coming through. While any Windows OS is certainly not perfect, it IS the most purchased and therefore more of a target. If as many people owned OS X, it would have just as many problems. They really are only potential problems if you know how to setup and maintain your system though, as well as practicing common sense. Even though it took me a while to learn what I now know about keeping my XP OS using IE healthy, I would not trade that for too much control from MS and CERTAINLY not from the government, and that is coming from someone whom is far from an anarchist. So, my answer is the customer should share in the responsibility of security. I feel neither of the choices on your poll really say it as it needs to be said. No matter how much security is imposed by a manufacturer or implemented by the end user, the end user is still responsible for what they choose to download. Where in all these beefs against MS does that ever get said?




Bs|Archaon

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#7 10 years ago

Both sides have to take steps. Companies that make the operating systems must take steps to produce secure software; but users have to take steps to 'fill in the blanks'. To use an analogy: the police are there to catch criminals, but you still lock your door and windows when you go out, don't you?

marvinmatthew;3919558If they have an internet connection, I always recomend a router as the best possible form of protection. But I get a lot of resistance. Like, "But I've already spent $1100 on this thing, you mean I have to spend more?"

In my opinion you're wrong there, a router by itself isn't actually that much use. But anyway, if they're complaining about paying more, give them a free firewall like Sunbelt Personal Firewall (SPF). Although you undeniably have to pay to get the best protection; if you've given them software like avast!, SPF, Spybot S&D and Adaware SE and taught them how and when to use them then they're not far behind the people who paid money for the best software.

Besides, a router is the domain of the ISP, not the OS company or computer manufacturer. If they didn't get a router with their software package then...




The-Bleh-Bleh

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#8 10 years ago

Ya, I guess it's reasonable for people to know how to keep their computers secure. It just kind of sucks how so many people don't know how. I definitely don't think the government should have anything to do with it.

I keep thinking of a perfect world where there were no problems with malware... It really ticks me off, AOL and similar software. I wish we didn't have it, but my sister and parents use it, so...




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#9 10 years ago

Whilst I agree that it's reasonable to expect users to have a certain amount of competence when it comes to managing their own system's security (and let's face it, if you refuse to update your virus protection software regularly and then contract a nasty piece of malware, you have only yourself to blame), I would also expect OS developers (I'm looking at you, Microsoft) to take bigger steps to ensure that their software has at least some defense mechanisms against invasive applications.

Take Apple, for example - virii that target OSX are all but nonexistent "in the wild", largely due to its UNIX heritage. Microsoft, on the other hand, has so many viruses targeting its operating system that the production of Windows-based virus protection software has become an industry in its own right.

If it weren't for Microsoft's general incompetence, companies such as Symantec wouldn't be where they are today...which is, in and of itself, quite worrying.




Guest

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#10 10 years ago

It is good to know what anti-(virus,malware,spyware) to use.And how many of them. One is enough,two are ok but risky....more then 2 fries your PC as it did to my friend who had like 5 of them.Although he was obsessed with not having a virus. Its actually hard to believe that like 5 anti-programs can actually start deleting uninfected files for no reason. And does someone knows.....I have AOL and AVG for viruses and Spyware Begone which is free and it works great.Is that enough ? I update them on a regular basis.




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