[thelist] Security... Please Make It Easier For Us Non-Tech Types!

Chris Johnston chris at fuzzylizard.com
Wed Aug 13 12:19:17 CDT 2003

> I've got to depend on things like Zone Alarm, Norton Anti-Virus, visiting
> the Windows Update site once a week, and on the corporate security and
> firewall teams at work.

>From the sounds of things you are doing alright. As far as I can tell,
from my own experience, if you have been routinely using windows update,
then you should have been immuned from this last worm. All I ever use is
windows update, norton anti-virus and a firewall and I have never been
infected with a virus, trojan or worm. I simply make sure that everything
is kept up to date.

> The situation is even worse for the people I see at work, who don't have a
> clue how the "helpful" spyware toolbar got installed in the outdated
> version of IE they are running, people who can't tell a legitimate warning
> from the network administrator from a fraudulent ad on a web page...

My advice to these people is to find themselves a friend, son, daughter,
neighbour, etc who will take care of them. You would never operate a car
without first finding a good mechanic and you should never buy a computer
without first finding a techy. It always astounishes me how many people
own computers without knowing the first thing about how to operate them
and never bothering to find someone who can help them.

> The security people, the OS people, the firewall people... all of them
> have
> to try to make protection more transparent to the end user. Just in the
> last few days, I've heard that some router I'm supposed to install before
> I
> go to cable internet access will protect me, and then that, in fact, the
> router or whatever it is WON'T protect me... if the tech people on this
> list can't agree, I don't have a prayer of understanding what I should do
> to protect my family's computers.

Personally, never listen to security professionals, unless you really
trust them. I find they simply create more FUD (fear, uncertainty and
doubt) then they actually dispell. I find it is like talking to med
students -- you tend to walk away a hypochondriac.

Find the source or people that you respect and listent to them, but
remember that just like the daily news you need to distill what you hear
from all the sources to find the truth.

I totaly agree that the field of computer security is too huge for us mere
mortals to figure out, but then so is the field of medicine. Backup
regularly, do what you can to keep your system protected and healthy, and
expect to get hit by a virus every once in a while. But if you follow the
first step, your system shouldn't die from it. And don't worry too much
about it or you will become a computer hypochondriac.

Chris Johnston

chris at fuzzylizard.com

More information about the thelist mailing list