Friday, October 19, 2012

See No Tech, Hear No Tech, Speak No Tech

In the past several months I have had several conversations with several people several times regarding several aspects of online security. There were enough "severals" to make me decide that now is a good time to further espouse my technology philosophies.

I spoke with one person that said he does not have the Internet at home because he fears a hacker will get his personal information, yet he uses a public computer for conducting personal transactions. Someone else I spoke with told me she was getting on her neighbor's unsecured wireless network to do her online banking when she was having issues with her home's router. Another person told me that she is required to have an online account with her child's school to manage the student's affairs. She was concerned that by having online access her family's personal information would be stolen. And, a fourth person told me that he did not need malware protection on his home PC because his Internet provider is handling it on their end.

Most of the people I spoke to had some rudimentary understanding that there are dangers in using the Internet, and some of them have become more careful in how they interact with businesses over the Internet. Others were nearly paralyzed by their fear simply because they are unable to accurately determine the risk of their computing habits. And, judging by the examples I cited above, it is clear there is much work to be done in getting people to understand and successfully evaluate the risks of computer use.

It is erroneous to think that public computers are safer to use than a home computer. It is unwise to think that because you are on a secure website it is safe to use an unsecured wireless connection. It is also unwise to think that if you have no access to your online information no one else will either. And, despite what you think your Internet provider is doing to thwart malware you still need to use an anti-malware application on your computer.

You are better off on your home computer where you have more control over the security of your personal network, computer, and Internet use; provided you are using a firewall, anti-malware protection, secure websites for transactions, strong passwords, and you are managing all of these things.

My personal feeling is that any time I can create an online account with a service, company, agency, financial institution, school, medical office, etc. that already has stored my information I am going to do it. I want to know what they know about me, and even if I can only have a teeny weenie bit of control it is a big piece of mind. I want to be able to monitor the information that is out there about me, even if I am unable to change any of it.

Consider this: your information is already out there, sitting on a server somewhere, with any number of entities who have "sworn" to protect it. Your information is potentially obtainable by undesirables whether or not you choose to have access to it. Covering your ears, closing your eyes, and screaming, "Lalalalalalalalallalalalala" doesn't change that fact.


  1. What about singing this?

  2. That is classic! So, yes, I highly recommend singing this, especially if you can get a group to do the way the Muppet's do.


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