I spent quite a bit of time yesterday writing and chatting about Computer Security Thoughts Part One. If you happened to look at the comments for that post, you will notice that both Tom and Kaleb said some valuable pieces of information for what I would call good computer practices, not necessarily in regards to computer security. However, now that I step back and think about it, practicing good computer security is one part of good computing principles. Today’s post may be more venting on my part than constructive analysis, but people have to vent somehow.
Zach and I have started to help more and more people with their computer-related problems this school year. And I have become more and more frustrated with the general computer user. Computers and the internet are such great tools for people to do work, have fun, research topics, etc. But the vast minority are actually using these tools to even half their potential. It actually pains me when I see a $2,000 computer in the hands of a computer novice. The spyware and viruses that they have managed to get on their computer in one semester of college is unbelievable. While I understand that most people are not computer enthusiasts like myself or Zach, I can’t understand the lack of basic computer administration knowledge, especially with college-aged students.
I was speaking with Tom, known in the forums as dooganking, last night over MSN, and we pretty much agreed with each other on every point we made. I can’t recall the conversation exactly, but we both did mention the lack of education in the school system about good computing practices. The entry level computer classes focus more on teaching the Microsoft Office Suite than giving general computing knowledge. I would like to see at least a portion of the entry level classes being devoted to teaching student the dangers of unsolicited e-mail attachments, visiting the wrong websites, and opening random IM links (LOL, look at Paris Hilton). In addition, I propose that colleges/high schools teach good, general computing practices, not just warn about what to look out for. Practices such as running Windows Update frequently, keeping up-to-date with anti-virus definitions, using some sort of anti-spyware and firewall solution, and keeping your password secure.
Maybe I out in left field on this issue, but I would love not having a phone call at least a few times a week about another issue with spyware, a Trojan or three. Just another thing to throw out there, self-education is so easy with the Internet. My motto has become “Google is your friend.” With so much information right at your fingertips, any question you have is just a search away. Where do you think I find the answers to your questions when I don’t know them off the top of my head?