Teaching Security to the Hopeless

One of my Twitter followers suggested that I write about security tips for the technically challenged. Instantly, I thought about my last visit home.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll notice that your friends, your family, and even people you rarely interact with always turn to you with their computer troubles. Sometimes, the questions are easy to answer, like recommending anti-virus software. Other times, you get the friend or family member that is technically savvy enough to follow your advice. Unfortunately, most of the time you get to deal with the hopeless, my parents being a prime example. Luckily my mother doesn’t read this blog. If she did, I’d get an earful on my next visit home.

Below are some easy tips you can recommend to those you may be hearing from a bit too much:

  1. Don’t just click next. When installing a piece of software, read each page of the installation. Many software companies now ask you to install a toolbar and if you don’t opt-out you may end up with browsing the Internet with this.
  2. Be vigilant while browsing. If you search Google for “car rentals,” make sure you select a search result that looks credible, like Hertz. This sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone get infected by clicking the first link or advertisement.
  3. Buy your anti-virus software. Okay, that may be stretching it but make sure your anti-virus is scheduled to update continuously. Most full versions of anti-virus software have automatic updating enabled by default.
  4. You don’t have any friends trying to sell you Viagra, I promise. Don’t open e-mails from senders you don’t recognize. More importantly, don’t open attachments unless you absolutely trust the sender.

With these quick tips, I was able to significantly reduce the number of calls from my parents. Leave a comment to share what’s worked for you!

5 thoughts on “Teaching Security to the Hopeless

  1. To my dismay i found out long ago that the hopeless cases cannot be fed information in other than small doses or they will not retain it.
    My most important and most given bits of advice are.
    If your AV does not supply a safe search function get WOT or a similar other program (often get it for them) and DO NOT click on anything that does not show the green icon or check mark.
    Get MBAM pro and (sigh) i will configure it to work with your AV.
    Tell the kids or grandkids that you have an invisible and unhackable stealth program that monitors their movements on your computer, at the very least it will drive them crazy looking for it…….LOL

  2. With one family member, I’ve given up entirely. Their computers now boot into a VM. When it gets infected, I delete the VM and re-apply the template with all their programs on it.

  3. Hey Marcin! im a huge fan of mbam and how well it works in the way i use/deploy it when doing malware/virus removal and i wanted to know what antivirus (paid for or free) (avg/avast/s.e./kaspersky or …..?) you would recommend as a personal favorite to pair with mbam? For me it seems mbam paired with s.e. works great but i wanted to hear what you had to say after keeping up with your blog….Thanks and happy holidays!!!
    ~Q~

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