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Victims or villians? (IT security)

By gralfus ·
I just read an interesting article on a British IT website: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/04/28/clueless_security_user/

Basically, it is in response to accusations against IT professionals for expecting users to follow security guidelines. The writer is saying that users of computers are similar to users of automobiles, in that we ought rightly to expect that before someone gets on the road that he/she has taken the time to learn the rules of the road (drive on the correct side of the road, know what the lights mean and obey them, don't drive on the sidewalk, etc). And in the same way, users of computers must be responsible for knowing the risks of using a computer and especially for connecting to the Internet. There is really no excuse for opening virus emails, not having an antivirus package installed, and not keeping up with the threats that are waiting to pounce.

The writer is responding to an article in the Wall Street Journal that takes the opposite view that we IT professionals ought to be able to remove all threats and let anyone be able to do anything on the Internet without worry. This seems like a prevailing attitude I see throughout society, that "someone else" is responsible for our protection and we ought to be able to do anything we darn well please without fear of consequences. This is patently absurd and such people deserve the harm that comes their way.

I find myself in agreement with the writer from The Reg, at least as far as home users are concerned. You don't have to be an IT professional to protect your PC, any more than your have to be a mechanic or NASCAR driver to use an automobile. For business, we may be stuck with users that are going to be willfully clueless, since most offices can't afford to educate them about how to behave around computers.

What do you all think?

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Interesting read

by Oz_Media In reply to Victims or villians? (IT ...

Well, I agree with most of what yo've said, especially that we expect someone else to be responsible for our actions. This has actually been a topic here before, people expect the government to take responsibility as some form of babysitter to protect them from the stupid mistakes they make, I agree that we should let the natural selection process continue, if you're stupid go kill yourself.

It generally takes simple common sense to stay relatively safe when surfing the web. Don't read junk mail, don't use chat, don't click the porno banners, don't download a free copy of Windows XP from Warez.com etc. Just common sense, use AntiVirus, run trojan and ad scans regularly.

Don't believe them when they say it will grow three sizes bigger (your heart that is, like the Grinch), don't buy the wondermiracle drug that is so brilliant it hasn't hit the shelves yet.

THere are online security scans that will conduct a simple port check and vulnerability test, they also provide useful and easy to understand security info.

You don't need ot be an IT expert to protect most home machines, it is just common sense, something that seems to have been lost in the wind over the past 10 years of computing.

Do computers actually give people a false sense of anonimity and security so that they throw logic and common sense out the window?

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Heh I just reloaded

by zlitocook In reply to Interesting read

My motherinlaws computer. She told me that she received a email telling her that she has won a digital camera. Well she clicked it and got a keylogger, a worm (that sets her computer up to do doss attacks) and a version of Sobig. It did so much damage that I did a compleat reinstall. Some people are just not common sence type for the internet. They need programs and a lot of help! There are others that open all emails because they need to talk to others. Yes they need to learn what to open but we need to show them what to read and what to delete.

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Heh I just reloaded

by zlitocook In reply to Interesting read

My motherinlaws computer. She told me that she received a email telling her that she has won a digital camera. Well she clicked it and got a keylogger, a worm (that sets her computer up to do doss attacks) and a version of Sobig. It did so much damage that I did a compleat reinstall. Some people are just not common sence type for the internet. They need programs and a lot of help! There are others that open all emails because they need to talk to others. Yes they need to learn what to open but we need to show them what to read and what to delete.

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Yes but...

by Cactus Pete In reply to Victims or villians? (IT ...

Of course, I agree that all people whould learn how to use the tools provider for them. However, the partners of my law firm hired me to keep them from hurting themselves. That's my job. It's not very glamorous, to say the least, when I have to scold them while they cry like babies that I won't allow them to get iTunes, etc, and they get mad at me and dislike me... But the still pay me.

But I agree, if they could just spend a LITTLE time learning how the dang thing works, they'd save a LOT of time fretting over it 'not working'. Basically, I gripe that neither I nor the computer can read their minds...

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